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Gov. Cuomo's NY-Sun Competitive Solar Program Off to a Bright Start

Governor Cuomo just announced the first round of awards for the NY-Sun Competitive PV Program – and boy is it looking bright! The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) awarded $46 million for 76 large-scale projects totaling 52 megawatts (MW) of new solar capacity, enough to power nearly 9,000 New York homes. We're excited about the early results of the program and the state's continued commitment to bringing reliable clean power and local solar jobs to New York.

For those who are new to the program: The NY-Sun Competitive PV Program is designed to make solar power an affordable option for larger energy consumers: businesses, public buildings, and factories. The $46 million from New York State will leverage another $100 million in private investment. It is the first of three Competitive PV Program award rounds planned this year. It’s all part of the Governor’s NY-Sun Initiative, a public-private partnership designed to drive growth in the state’s solar industry and lower solar costs for all New Yorkers. NY-Sun will quadruple the amount of customer-sited solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity added between 2011 and 2013. In this year’s State of the State address, Governor Cuomo committed to extending the NY-Sun Initiative through 2023.

NY-Sun was carefully designed to make sure New York energy consumers get more solar bang for their buck. NYSERDA’s investment will leverage millions more in private capital to help New Yorkers harness the sun – a reliable, free, local fuel source that delivers power when and where it’s needed most. We think it’s great — and our New York partners agree.

“The resounding solar success we are seeing today is just the beginning for New York. Governor Cuomo’s ambitious vision for a 10 year extension of the NY-Sun Initiative will drive the kind of investment that it takes to build a world-class solar market,” said Carrie Cullen Hitt, senior vice president for state affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

“Our state’s growing solar industry employs thousands of New Yorkers working to build our new energy economy through projects like those awarded by NYSERDA today. With its ambitious goals and long-term vision, a 10-year NY-Sun Initiative will keep putting boots on roofs and creating good jobs up and down the state,” said Sail Van Nostrand, president of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA).

“In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, New Yorkers understand all too well the urgent need to combat climate change and better prepare for its impacts,” said Pierre Bull, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). “NY-Sun is helping to tackle those challenges head-on and make the state a leader in solar energy. This program — together with reductions in power plant pollution and increased support for other renewable energy sources, like offshore wind — can help the Cuomo administration build a cleaner, safer and more secure future for New York.”

“Governor Cuomo’s launch of NY-Sun last year is delivering on its promise to jumpstart the solar industry in the Empire State; attracting private sector investment, creating local jobs, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution from the electric sector,” said Jackson Morris, director of strategic engagement at the Pace Energy & Climate Center. “Today’s announcement illustrates how a robust, long-term commitment to solar in New York will drive down costs and maximize benefits to consumers and the grid.”

Today’s announcement from Governor Cuomo notes that a steady decline in the cost to build solar PV projects since the Competitive PV Program’s launch has enabled significant reductions to the incentives that are awarded. In 2011, the portfolio-weighted average incentive awarded was $1.30 per Watt, while in 2012 it had dropped to $0.93 per Watt. Today’s awards represent a further decline to $0.88 per Watt, or about 30 percent of the cost to build these projects.

New York State ranked 10th in the nation for new solar capacity installed in 2012, according to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight® report.   There are approximately 3,300 solar professionals working at 338 companies in New York.

This article was originally published on VoteSolar.org and was republished with permission.

Lead image: NYC Skyline via Shutterstock

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