NYC Sees Exponential Solar Growth, Poised to Add Resiliency to the City

June 7, 2013 | Media Release

(June 4, 2013) At the 7th annual NYC Solar Summit the City University of New York (CUNY) convened New York’s power leaders to discuss market growth strategies and the role solar can play in emergencies, grid resiliency and demand response. In 2012, the NYC solar market grew by 85% over the previous year and is projected to continue on a rapid upward trajectory based on the significant number of new PV applications that were filed so far in 2013. As the megawatts of power supplied by solar rapidly scales up across New York and the country, the ability to make a positive impact in America’s energy mix has become real, as evidenced by today’s gathering of NY’s utilities with the Governor’s energy leaders for a frank discussion on major commitments to support solar growth.

Richard Kauffman, Chair of Energy & Finance, for the State of New York, Frank Murray, President & CEO, New York State Energy Research & Development Authority, James Laurito, President & Chief Executive Officer, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp, Kenneth D. Daly, President, National Grid and Stuart Nachmias, Vice President of Energy Policy & Regulatory Affairs, Consolidated Edison shared their thinking on the ‘Tipping Point for Solar in New York’.

“The success of solar industry development in New York is linked to public and private partnerships to address market segmentation and funding, and overcoming permitting and regulatory barriers,” said Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance for Governor Cuomo. “Through Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative, which aims to quadruple by 2013 the amount of customer-sited  solar power installed annually in New York, we are enabling the sustainable development of a robust solar industry, creating clean energy jobs, improving electric reliability and reducing air pollution through stable and dependable funding of $150 million per year for the next ten years.  We look forward to continuing our joint efforts with the City University of New York to undertake this important mission.”

“Our customers are discovering that solar power provides a great way to manage their energy usage and keep our environment clean,” said Stuart Nachmias, Con Edison’s vice president, Energy Policy and Regulatory Affairs. “Con Edison supports the development of this clean, renewable source, which is becoming an important part of Greater New York’s 21st century energy portfolio.”

One key technical panel presented on resiliency and the capability of solar to supply power in emergencies such Hurricane Sandy. Solar installations in urban areas are generally ‘grid-tied’ and designed to shut down when the grid fails so as not to feed power onto power lines that are under repair. However, new technology and designs are available that re-route the power captured on our rooftops by solar and other distributed generation, allowing these resources to contribute during emergencies. The development of a policy and programmatic framework to support this capability is part of a substantial new effort by CUNY.

CUNY serves as one of NYC’s prime partners in its coastal storm shelter operations. Where to get power- even enough power to simply charge a phone or a lap top became a prime concern for many in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy,” said Tria Case, University Director of Sustainability. “CUNY formed the Smart Distributed Generation Hub (DG), with Federal, State and City collaboration, working together to once again implement changes that can help utilize not only solar power, but other distributed generation solutions as resilient resources during emergencies. Through this effort, new technologies are now entering the market that can help create a more resilient NYC.”

At the summit, CUNY outlined NYSolar Smart, a detailed plan to reduce the soft costs of installing solar across New York State that is supported in part by NYSERDA and NYPA through Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative.  The average cost of installing solar in New York State in 2012 was $5.79 a watt. However, county averages deviate from that average by up to 40% due to in part to the lack of a unified permitting process, financial options, or marketing and data analysis tools across many of the municipalities. NYSolar Smart builds on the NYC successes and aims to reduce stratification with a streamlined permitting process, and analytical and marketing tools like a New York State Solar Map. CUNY led the development and launch in 2010 of the NYC Solar Map, the largest LiDAR based solar map in the world that displays the solar potential for each of NYC’s one million rooftops.

“When Governor Cuomo unveiled his NY-Sun Initiative at the beginning of 2012, he made increasing solar power a major initiative for the state. Since then, we’ve seen more solar installations installed or under development than in the entire prior decade,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO, NYSERDA.  “Thanks to a variety of public and private partnerships underway to reduce the costs associated with solar power, we expect to see continued growth and investment in this renewable resource across the state.”

‘Realizing the Value of Solar in the U.S’ was the final discussion of the Summit, with participants Kevin Lynn from the U.S. Department of Energy, Kyle Kimball, Executive Director of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Robert Lurie, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning at New York Power Authority and Michael J. Deering, Vice President of Environmental Affairs at Long Island Power Authority.

“Solar energy is not only good for the environment, it is also good for New York City’s economy and its resiliency,” said Kyle Kimball, Executive Director of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. “While the rapid growth of solar energy has already had a significant impact on our city’s economy, there is tremendous opportunity for continued growth. By reducing costs and simplifying solar installation procedures, NYSolar Smart will further incentivize and empower the private sector to choose more resilient energy options.”

NYSERDA and Con Edison were major sponsors of the seventh annual NYC Solar Summit. A full list of sponsors can be found here: NYC Solar Summit Sponsors  NYC Solar Summit Presentations and Agenda

CUNY convened NYC’s first Resilient Inverter Workshop on June 5th, bringing in  five of the top inverter companies to present to NYC solar installers and stakeholders new- or new to New York- technologies that will ideally help create a more resilient New York City. Resilient Inverter Workshop Presentations

Since 2006 Sustainable CUNY has led the efforts to integrate multiple U.S. Department of Energy grants in NYC as part of the NYC Solar Partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability and the NYC Economic Development Corporation with significant support by Con Edison, NYSERDA, the NYC Department of Buildings (DOB), the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and the New York Power Authority. As this nation’s largest urban university, CUNY plays a transformational role in New York City’s sustainable future with an educational footprint that spans 24 academic institutions and over half a million students, faculty and staff. Sustainable CUNY is leading CUNY’s efforts through three key pillars: the CUNY Sustainability Project, state-wide Sustainable Energy projects and CUNY SustainableWorks, a commercialization program for sustainable and clean technology.