Governor Cuomo Launches New Effort to Boost Solar Implementation in Communities Across New York State

Community Solar NY makes solar installation more affordable and feasible.

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Long Island, NY - December 7, 2014 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the launch of Community Solar NY, a new effort under the NY-Sun initiative to make implementing solar easier and more affordable for communities across the state. The program launched today supports community projects known as “Solarize” campaigns – locally-organized community outreach efforts aimed at getting a critical mass of area homes and businesses to install solar.

“Transitioning to affordable and clean energy is a large part of our goal of building a better New York State – and today we’re taking another step forward to make that goal a reality,” Governor Cuomo said. “By helping local communities implement solar technologies, we are providing residents throughout the State with greater access to clean energy without the burden of high costs. Community Solar NY is another initiative that will help us deliver on our promise to build a cleaner and greener Empire State, and I encourage all interested communities to join us by taking part in this effort.”

Solarize campaigns bring together widespread community outreach and education, competitive installer selection, and a limited-time offer to bring more customers to solar and provide significant cost savings. Community Solar NY will support these campaigns by providing marketing materials, technical assistance and funding; and by sharing best practices to help community projects succeed.

John B. Rhodes, President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), said, “Community Solar NY is an innovative approach to spur local communities to come together to install and encourage the installation of solar in homes, businesses and neighborhoods. A new component of Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative, it is the latest piece of a comprehensive program to help the State advance toward installing 3,000 megawatts of solar by 2023.”

Communities across New York State already have had success with early Solarize efforts. Community Solar NY seeks to encourage many more communities to follow their lead. Descriptions of existing Solarize projects can be found here.

Community Solar NY also includes K-Solar, a joint partnership between the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and NYSERDA, working with the New York State Education Department to help schools lower their energy costs by going solar. NYPA is offering every New York State school district free energy advisory services and in collaboration with school personnel will determine if solar energy is suitable and cost-effective for their district and to help secure the most attractive solar financing. As of the end of November, 194 school districts, representing more than 800 schools in 51 counties, have signed up to participate in K-Solar.

Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA President and CEO, said, “By using Community Solar NY, homeowners and businesses can combine efforts to go solar more affordably in a similar way K-Solar is now bringing many school districts together for cost-effective solar installations. As K-Solar schools spread the clean solar energy message, this will spark a greater interest in all that Community Solar NY has to offer.”

Applications and additional information on Community Solar NY are available on the NYSERDA website.

John Johanson, Steering Committee Member of Solarize Troy, said, “Many people have been sitting on the sidelines when it comes to solar power due to the misconception that it isn’t affordable, when in fact homeowners can save on their utility bill right out of the gate with no money down. As we’ve found in Troy, where we doubled our target with 60 installations, community efforts that bring neighbors together can have huge impact, inspiring many more people to go solar and take advantage of this wonderful resource.”

Jonathan Comstock, Chair of the Solar Tompkins Steering Committee, said, “We are thrilled to see Community Solar NY ready to help communities generate more of their own electric power from solar energy. Solarize programs are tremendously powerful because they are local community groups speaking to their own friends and neighbors about the win-win-win opportunities of solar power. Community Solar NY will be able to provide the logistical support and experience that local teams need to make the most out of their efforts.”

Adam Flint, Program Manager, Southern Tier Solar works (STSW), said, “Working on a shoestring, STSW and our partners in a half dozen communities across the state doubled the number of residential solar arrays in our communities this year. With support from Community Solar NY, we will be on the path to demonstrating that community-based clean energy can create lots of good paying jobs and fight climate change. We encourage others who share our goals to step up and match those ratepayer dollars so we can move quickly to scale.”

Ellen Honigstock, Founder, Sustainable Kensington Windsor Terrace, said, "The original goal of Solarize Brooklyn was to normalize renewable energy in our borough. We were amazed at the level of interest we saw among our neighbors and so pleased that the program effectively doubled the number of solar energy projects in our neighborhoods. We are eagerly awaiting the continued growth of clean energy in New York City from Solar One's new community initiative, Here Comes Solar, which traces its inspiration and origins directly to the experience, success and impact of Solarize Brooklyn last year."

Chris Carrick, Energy Program Manager for the Central New York Regional Planning & Development Board, said, “Solarize campaigns are a real win-win solution for the community and for the solar industry. By providing grassroots support and education for prospective solar customers and marshalling their collective buying power, the Solarize approach makes it easier and more affordable than ever to go solar. In addition, Solarize taps the unrealized demand of homeowners and businesses, giving a boost to solar contractors and helping to create jobs in the solar industry.”

NY-Sun is a $1 billion initiative of Governor Cuomo’s to advance the scale-up of solar and move the state closer to having a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry. With this initiative, New York’s role as a leader and first mover in shaping the future of energy remains firmly in place. By developing innovative market solutions, the State is delivering on Governor Cuomo’s commitment to transform the energy industry into a more resilient, clean, cost-effective and dynamic system. Working with State, citizen and industry stakeholders, New York’s energy policy is moving to a more market-based, decentralized approach. This means preserving the environment, decreasing energy costs, and creating opportunities for economic growth for current and future generations of New Yorkers. In advancing these new energy systems and solutions, New Yorkers will have improved energy affordability and efficiency without sacrificing the ability to live in a cleaner, resilient and more sustainable environment.