Cuomo Signs New York Solar Package

A new PV array in Poughkeepsie. Lucas Braun photo.

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on August 9 announced that $107 million is available through the NY-Sun initiative for a major solar power incentive program that will increase the amount of electricity generated by PV systems throughout New York.

The NY-Sun Competitive PV Program, administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), seeks proposals for large  PV systems (more than 50 kilowatts) to be installed at businesses, factories, municipal buildings and other larger commercial and industrial customers. A new website,, has been launched to provide a one-stop-shop for applicants seeking funding through the NY-Sun program.

“The NY-Sun initiative has helped establish New York State as a leader in solar power, and these investments in photovoltaic systems will allow businesses and municipalities to put in place green, cost-effective electric generating installations,” Governor Cuomo said. “In addition, these investments will further drive job growth in the state’s clean power industry, and create economic development in communities across New York. I encourage all businesses and municipalities eligible for these grants to apply.”

This phase of the program is available through the end of 2013 for PV projects in New York City and upstate New York at eligible customer sites. This is an expansion – both in geographical territory and in funding – of a two-year-old program that previously focused on large PV systems for the commercial, industrial and municipal sectors exclusively in New York City, Westchester County and the lower Hudson Valley. The awards announced yesterday by the Governor stemmed from this more limited 2-year-old program.

Through the newly established NY-Sun Competitive PV Program, $36.4 million will be available in 2012 and $70.5 million in 2013. All projects will require co-funding to best leverage state resources with funding capped at $3 million per project.

Proposals under the first round of the NY-Sun Competitive PV Program are due November 8 with the remaining two due dates for this program in the first and third quarters of 2013.

Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO, NYSERDA, said, “For the last two years, NYSERDA funding has helped spark interest in a wide variety of large solar-power projects in some of the most densely populated areas of the state. Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative will expand and stimulate the growth and deployment of solar technology while at the same time reducing demand on the grid throughout the state.”

Public Service Commission Chairman Garry Brown said, “Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative will help further the growth of solar energy in the state. Not only will this help diversify our energy supply and improve our environment, it will help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and stimulate economic opportunities.”

In addition to the competitive PV program, NYSERDA has also expanded its smaller-scale solar PV program (less than 50 kilowatts) under the NY-Sun Initiative. Monthly funding under this program has increased from $2 million to $3.5 million for the remainder of 2012 and will continue at $3.1 million per month in 2013. This standard offer, non-competitive open enrollment program provides funding for systems up to 7 kilowatts for residential sites and up to 50 kilowatts for non-residential sites.

Governor Cuomo launched the NY-Sun initiative to double the amount of customer-sited solar power installed annually in New York, and quadruple that amount by 2013 benchmarked against the amount installed during 2011. This initiative brings together and expands existing programs administered by NYSERDA, NYPA and Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), to ensure a coordinated and well-funded solar energy expansion plan.

The package includes these bills:

  • A 34-B: Tax credits for solar energy system equipment.
  • A 10620: Defines tax abatement for solar generating systems in cities of one million or more.
  • A 5522-B: Exempts commercial solar systems from sales and compensating-use taxes and allows municipalities to grant tax exemptions.

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