LIPA Restructures Solar Rebate Program to Address Current Changes in Solar Market

Written by Long Island News & PR  |  02. August 2013

Uniondale, NY - August 2nd, 2013 - Continuing its commitment to advancing energy efficiency and renewable energy on Long Island, LIPA has announced a restructuring in its solar programs in order to continue to support solar growth on Long Island as well as sustain the solar industry. Since 2000 LIPA has provided financial incentives for the installation of over 6,500 solar roofs on Long Island through its customer-sided residential and commercial solar system programs. Late last year, LIPA expanded its programs to establish the State’s first feed-in tariff for mid-to-large solar installations and to also allow for residential solar leasing. Together these programs have helped raise customer awareness, increase the number of solar arrays, and bring down the cost of solar. In addition, LIPA’s renewable energy programs have helped to create a robust solar industry on Long Island which has developed the largest concentration of solar installations in the state, and has also contributed to improving the environment while adding hundreds of clean energy jobs to the region.

"LIPA is encouraged that it has continued to attract high numbers of customers interested in solar energy. The growing interest and availability in the marketplace for solar installations, together with the availability of other local, state and federal tax incentives, make it reasonable for LIPA to adjust its incentive structure," said LIPA Chief Operating Officer John McMahon. "We are hopeful we will see continued growth in solar energy while keeping costs to LIPA's 1.1 million electric customers at the lowest reasonable levels."

While LIPA’s solar programs continue to flourish, the declining cost of installation, the continued growth of solar contractors on Long Island, the ever-increasing demand for solar systems and continued federal, state and local tax incentives has made it necessary for LIPA to once again adjust its rebate structure to keep it in line with the growing solar market. As the industry moves closer to market transformation, leaving solar at its lowest cost since the programs began in 2000, LIPA has made the necessary adjustments in the Solar Pioneer rebate program. These adjustments are necessary in order for LIPA to work within its budget while continuing to allow for the deployment of solar throughout Long Island and continuing to provide support for the solar industry. The success of these programs remains a key factor in driving down the price of solar.

Beginning July 31st at 5:00pm, LIPA has lowered its rebates to $0.99/AC watt (equivalent to $0.75 per DC watt for a typical system) for the installation of a residential customer-owned or leased solar system. In addition LIPA has lifted its contractor cap for the amount of solar systems allowed per company. This cap was originally put in place to help stabilize the program to address the rapid demand for solar and allow for more LIPA customers to participate in the program. These solar rebates have acted as a catalyst to create an increasingly competitive market which has resulted in more sold systems installed this year even as rapid growth in leasing occurs.

"Long Island is one of the most important solar markets in New York. This is an important step as LIPA has acted quickly to deploy an incentive that is the lowest in the state and will continue to support job creation and solar development. This will drive the market closer to realizing the goal of deploying clean energy incentive free, to the benefit of all rate payers," said Shaun Chapman, President of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA), the statewide trade association to advance the solar energy industry.

"LIPA’s solar programs are a strong indicator of New York State’s solar success, and have made Long Island a leading solar market. LIPA’s continued commitment to its residential program is helping to make solar an affordable option for Long Islanders and a real and growing part of New York's energy landscape," said Peter Olmsted, East Coast Policy Advocate for the Vote Solar Initiative

"LIPA's 10 plus year commitment to renewable energy has allowed solar to flourish on Long Island, the benefits of which we're only starting to realize, but will become dramatic over time. It has specifically helped EmPower build a team of 60 solar professionals headquartered on Long Island, and empower 650 residential, commercial and non-profit clients. Given the dynamic state of the regional, national and global solar industry, we applaud LIPA for staying flexible and maintaining their resolve to make solar a major component of the energy mix," said David G. Schieren Chief Executive Officer, EmPower Solar.

The new rebate incentives will continue to provide funding for the installation of solar systems but will also enable many more consumers to participate in investing in renewable energy. The restructured rebate will remain in effect until market conditions dictate the need for LIPA to modify the rebate again. For more information regarding LIPA’s solar programs log on to http://www.lipower.org/residential/efficiency/renewables/

LIPA, a non-profit municipal electric provider, owns the retail electric Transmission and Distribution System on Long Island and provides electric service to more than 1.1 million customers in Nassau and Suffolk counties and the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. LIPA is the 2nd largest municipal electric utility in the nation in terms of electric revenues, 3rd largest in terms of customers served and the 7th largest in terms of electricity delivered. In 2011, LIPA outperformed all other overhead electric utilities in New York State for frequency and duration of service interruptions. LIPA does not provide natural gas service or own any on-island generating assets. More information about LIPA can be found online at www.lipower.org.

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