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New York’s progressive take on solar energy

New York has been called a national leader in the transition to renewable energies like solar. The state has set a goal of reducing its carbon emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, and the state ranks 7th in solar capacity of infrastructure installed in 2014. This is, in part, thanks to a 2012 initiative called NY-Sun, which introduced new regulations meant to bring in more large-scale solar producers to the state, and incentivize residential solar. Since the introduction NY-Sun, the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) and other power authorities have worked hard to develop and implement new solar policy.

Under the new policy, cash and tax incentives are granted to parties who install rooftop solar panels on their residential or non-residential property. One important incentive ensures that homeowners won’t have their property tax raised if the solar system increases the value of their home.

Perhaps most interesting are the solutions the state has found to the complex economic situations that arise around ‘net metering’ and the intersection of power plants with renewables. Under net metering, if your solar cells generate more power than you need, that power flows back into the grid and you get paid for it. However, it creates a new and complex market situation.

Under new laws, NY power utilities’ revenue will be based on how efficiently and effectively they distribute power. This keeps utilities from being penalized by solar adapters, and makes it attractive for utilities to draw from ‘distributed’ power sources like off-site solar panels via net metering. However, utilities will not be allowed to own large-scale solar infrastructure thus keeping the market competitive. Under this system, everybody wins. Power companies get to stay in business, and take an active role in storing and circulating renewable energy. Homeowners get tax breaks for their roof-top solar panels, and lower power bills. The market for solar power generation stays open and competitive.

Good job, New York! If you are a New Yorker, now is a great time to start your transition to environmentally and economical energy by adding rooftop solar panels to your home.

For questions or comments about this or anything solar, contact us.


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