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Three Gigawatts of Solar Installed in New York Generating Enough Clean Energy to Power More Than Half of State's Solar Growth Up Over 2,100 Percent and Cost of Solar Down 69%
Launch of NY-Sun Initiative
July 13, 2021
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced three gigawatts of solar have been installed across the state, enough to power more than half a million homes, underscoring New York's leadership in growing one of the strongest solar markets in the nation.
Since the launch of the NY-Sun initiative in 2011, solar has grown 2,100 percent statewide and declined in cost by 69 percent while fostering approximately 12,000 jobs across the state. When combined with the projects that are under development, achieving today's milestone represents 95 percent of Governor Cuomo's goal to install six gigawatts of solar by 2025, as mandated in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
"Solar energy is a key component in New York's transition to a clean energy economy as we work to reduce harmful emissions across the board and address the dual challenges of fighting climate change and rebuilding stronger post-pandemic,"
Governor Cuomo said. "The success of NY-Sun demonstrates we are on track to meeting our nation-leading energy goals while stimulating green job growth and economic recovery in communities across the state as part of our comprehensive plan to reimagine New York following the pandemic."
"As someone who grew up near Lake Erie and saw first-hand the harmful effects caused by emissions from the local steel plant, creating a cleaner, greener future has always been a personal fight for me," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "By reaching the historic milestone of three gigawatts of solar installed in New York, we can now power more than a half million homes with clean energy, while also creating good jobs and attracting further investment in our State's green energy economy."
Lieutenant Governor Hochul made the announcement today with NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris and Peggy Flannery, Principal at Generate Capital, at a ribbon cutting for the largest community solar project in the Mid-Hudson region. The project, informally known as "17B", located in the town of Bethel on the road leading to the site of the original 1969 Woodstock Music Festival, was developed by Delaware River Solar, and is owned by Generate Capital, which jointly manage the site today. It includes a 6.1 megawatt solar array that will produce 7.8 million kilowatt-hours of solar energy annually, and is fully subscribed with 129 residences, small businesses, and non-profits. The project received over $1 million from NYSERDA through the NY-Sun initiative.
By enabling consumers to subscribe to a local community solar project, this project will increase access to solar for homeowners and renters who may not have ideal conditions to directly install solar panels onsite. Through community solar arrangements, energy is still delivered by a customer's regular electric provider, and the power produced from the community solar array is fed directly back to the electric grid. As the electric grid is supplied with clean, renewable energy, subscribers receive credit on theirelectric bills for their portion of the community solar system.
In 2020, New York ranked first in the nation in Community Solar installations and second for total installations. Last year was also the State's most productive year ever for these solar installations, with 549 megawatts of capacity installed, the majority of which was supported by NY-Sun incentives. New York's policies have ensured solar reaches every county in the state with Long Island, Mid-Hudson, and the Capital Region with the most installed solar.
Since 2011, Governor Cuomo's NY-Sun initiative achieved the following:
Installed solar on the rooftop or property of 145,000 homes spanning every county in New York;
Provided over $1 billion in incentives, leveraging $5.3 billion in private investment;
Drove over 2,100 percent solar growth in the State;
Delivered enough clean, renewable energy to power over 522,000 New York homes;
Fostered 12,000 jobs in the solar industry;
Helped to drive down the cost of solar 69 percent in 10 years; and
Committed $30 million for projects benefiting environmental justice and disadvantaged communities.
NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "The NY-Sun initiative has made New York's solar market a national leader by providing the market signals and support needed to expand access to clean, affordable energy for all New Yorkers. Public-private partnerships are a cornerstone of our work, and we are incredibly proud of our collaboration with the stakeholders, developers, and landowners that have helped us achieve our three gigawatts of solar milestone, an important step on the path to greening our energy grid as part of the State's equitable clean energy transition."
"Community solar is a critical opportunity to democratize access to affordable clean energy and we are thrilled to congratulate New York State on reaching this 3GW deployment milestone," said Peggy Flannery, a principal at Generate Capital, which has more than 200 MW of community solar projects under ownership or in construction in New York State today. "At Generate, our vision is to rebuild the world with sustainable infrastructure and we're proud to partner with innovative developers like Delaware River Solar to bring the clean power, jobs and economic savings opportunities from community solar projects to thousands of communities, residents and small businesses throughout the state."
Smart Community and designated Clean Energy Community, the Town of Bethel continues to work closely with NYSERDA on projects large and small to advance our own and the State's sustainability goals." In addition to the three gigawatts of distributed solar installed statewide, there is another 2.7 gigawatts of solar that have been awarded NY-Sun incentives and are now under development across the state. These projects are expected to come online in the next two years with enough capacity to power an additional 477,000 homes, which will bring New York State even closer to achieving the six gigawatts target mandated in the Climate Act. Currently, New York's statewide solar pipeline is comprised of over 90 percent community solar, or more than 800 projects, which once completed will expand access to more New Yorkers including low-to-moderate income households.
This strong pipeline of distributed solar projects is complemented by NYSERDA's large-scale renewables program, which has active contracts with over 75 utility-scale solar projects totaling nearly five additional gigawatts of solar under development including several actively in construction throughout the state - enough to power more than 1.2 million homes once completed. Together, these projects will result in more than $5.5 billion invested in New York and over 9,000 jobs in development, construction, and operations and maintenance.