Solar Electricty For All!

Now, all residents of New York State can invest in generating electricity from solar power for their own use, even if solar cannot be installed at their place of residence!

Any resident can buy a portion of a group-built solar array. A New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) program named “Community Solar” is a new way to obtain electric power from the sun at your home, or for just about any grid-tied building. Now, solar-generated electricity can be obtained by everyone in New York who currently buys electricity from a utility. Even if you thought you can’t or wouldn’t install solar panels where you live, community-shared solar allows creation of a shared solar array with each individual member’s electricity production appearing as a credit on their monthly utility bill.

The shares of the facility can be combined from among renters, homeowners, schools, and businesses. Together, 10 or more members would co-locate solar panels as one facility, connect their solar-generated electricity to the utility grid, and receive credits on their utility bills proportional to their share of the solar array. No change of one’s home electric meter or wires occurs. Federal and New York State tax credits may apply to the owners of the shared array.

The community-shared solar array would be sized to generate the amount of electricity used annually, on average, by the combined membership. The project should be sized to generate the power needed by its members, not more, so any excess solar power generated but not used will be credited proportionally to members by their utility company according to the NY State Public Service Commission program named Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER). Community-shared solar need not be an entrepreneurial venture. Think of community-shared solar as a cooperative project with benefits shared equally among members.

More information and requirements of NYSERDA’s Community Solar program can be found at https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/NY-Sun/Solar-for-Your-Home/Community-Solar. Find Community Solar projects at https://www.nyserda.ny.gov/All-Programs/Programs/NY-Sun/Solar-for-Your-Home/Community-Solar/Community-Solar-Map.

At NYSERDA, Community Solar is also referred to as Community Distributed Generation. That’s because the term “distributed” confers important advantages of community-shared solar electricity generation to all electric utility customers. It’s recognized that our nation’s electric grid has vulnerabilities due to its large size and large area of interconnectedness. When a group of utility customers can share solar-powered electricity generation in a local area, the result is more efficient, decentralized power production. It improves health and energy for all residents in a community. For more information contact Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development, sasdonline@gmail.com. Sullivan Alliance for Sustainable Development web site is HERE.