Whether they rent their home, own a condo or have a shaded roof, many New Yorkers are currently unable to install solar energy systems. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, only 22-27% of residential roof space is suitable for on-site solar production. This leaves the majority of homes in the dark, without the economic and environmental benefits associated with solar.
2015 could be the year this changes.
Last week, Governor Cuomo’s 2015 Opportunity Agenda highlighted Shared Solar, also known as community net metering, as a way to millions of people to go solar for the first time. A shared renewable energy program would allow all electricity customers, including renters, to subscribe to local solar energy projects and get a credit on their electricity bills for their portion of the clean power produced. This would allow all New Yorkers to access the benefits of solar that eligible homeowners have long enjoyed, including lower, stable energy bills, a reduced carbon footprint, and a leading role in building healthier communities.
Across the country, there are at least 58 shared solar programs active in 22 states. In addition to the environmental benefits, these programs have been an important tool for local economic development. While the solar industry in New York already accounts for 5,000 jobs, this new program would be an important way to boost job creation and green investments.
This spring, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) plans to launch in a consultative process to assess New York’s shared renewable energy potential and program design. This initiative supports the goals of the Governor’s signature NY-Sun Initiative and Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) regulatory process, both groundbreaking efforts to advance clean energy in New York State.
To learn more about Shared Solar in NYC, please email Elana Bulman at elana[at]solar1[dot]org.
Photo courtesy of Vote Solar.