New York Revamps Megawatt Block Solar Incentive Program

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has announced improvements to NY-Sun’s Megawatt Block incentive program for non-residential and large commercial and industrial solar projects.

The redesign – made in response to a rapidly changing market, says NYSERDA – includes expanding the incentives, supporting larger solar projects and encouraging development in a greater variety of locations.

The NY-Sun Megawatt Block program has already supported 652 MW of completed projects, and another 979 MW are currently under development. According to NYSERDA, the Megawatt Block has provided a “stable, transparent incentive structure” for project developers since it was introduced in 2014. The redesign represents a continued commitment by the state to ensure the growth of the evolving solar industry, and the program revisions are the result of ongoing coordination with New York’s solar developers and stakeholders, says NYSERDA.

The incentive program is divided into three regions across New York: the LIPA/PSEG-Long Island service territory, the Consolidated Edison service territory and upstate. The incentive steps down over time based on market activity by sector and region.

The program revisions encourage the development of new projects by accelerating payments and providing new financial incentive “adders.” Development in limited-use areas, at brownfield or landfill sites, on rooftop or parking canopies in ConEd territory, and at affordable housing will now be eligible for a higher incentive.

To encourage solar deployment for business owners, the revisions also increase the project size limit of the non-residential incentive program to 750 kW from 200 kW. The maximum system size for commercial and industrial projects was recently increased to 7.5 MW. The increased size caps further support project development by allowing greater economies of scale, says NYSERDA.

The NY-Sun program supports New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s mandate for 50% of the state’s electricity from renewable resources by 2030. NY-Sun is Cuomo’s $1 billion initiative to advance the scale-up of solar. Since 2011, solar in New York State has increased more than 1,000% and leveraged nearly $2.8 billion in private investments, according to NYSERDA. NY-Sun will deploy at least 3 GW of capacity by 2023.

“Solar energy is a key component of Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading commitment to 50 percent renewable energy by 2030, and the NY-Sun initiative redesign will help ensure we keep the momentum going in New York’s fast-growing solar market,” comments Alicia Barton, president and CEO of NYSERDA. “New solar projects are being constructed across the state faster than ever before, bringing clean energy and solar jobs to communities in every region of New York.”

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