Central New York
Community Solar Forum
On March 18th, The Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, NYSERDA and the Energy Democracy Alliance will be cosponsoring the Central New York Community Solar Forum.
New York’s Community Distributed Generation policy can unleash the economic development potential of solar energy by facilitating community solar gardens, centrally-located solar photovoltaic (PV) systems that provide electricity to participating subscribers. Community solar provides multiple benefits and advantages as compared to "traditional" rooftop solar. Community solar projects can be strategically located to strengthen utility distribution networks, can lower costs to customers by leveraging economies of scale, and can expand access to more customers than ever before. These new customers include the 50% or more of consumers and businesses that are unable to host PV systems because they do not own their building and/or they do not have access to sufficient roof space (e.g., high-rise buildings or multi-unit housing). By opening the market to these customers, community solar could represent one-third to one-half of the nation’s distributed PV market in 2020 according the National Community Solar Partnership.
While community solar holds much promise for the continued growth of the solar PV market, municipal officials, community stakeholders and solar developers have many questions about how solar gardens can and should be built in New York. Some of these questions include:
How much of the community solar project has to be “subscribed” before project developers will have enough confidence to begin construction?
How should customer subscriptions be structured? What is the length of the contract and what terms (i.e., annual escalator) should be included?
How large should community solar projects be sized and where should they be built in order to facilitate affordable and timely interconnection to utility distribution networks?
Which technologies or third-party service providers can community solar project developers employ to manage their subscribers and utility reporting responsibilities, and how much will it cost?
How can project developers that cannot exploit the federal Investment Tax Credit compete in this market?
To facilitate dialog and address these questions, the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, in partnership with NYSERDA and the Energy Democracy Alliance, will host the Central New York Community Solar Forum on March 18 at the Genesee Grande Hotel in Syracuse. Bringing together local government representatives, community stakeholders and the solar industry, this all-day workshop will feature presentations from national experts and facilitated roundtable discussions.
More details will be announced soon, but please mark your calendars for this exciting event. Don’t miss this important turning point in the next phase of New York’s clean energy revolution!
Register for the forum, here.