Sustainable CUNY to Research NYC Grid and Deploy NYS/NYC Financing Solutions

March 11, 2014

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative continues to establish New York as a front-runner in the solar market with Monday’s announcement of over 28 million dollars in awards designed to reduce the ‘soft costs’ of installing solar and support specific large-scale projects that will add 33.6 megawatts of solar capacity in New York.

Sustainable CUNY’s NYSolar Smart program received funding for three new projects to be implemented in New York City and statewide. NYSolar Smart is further supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and is a comprehensive program that was developed by Sustainable CUNY of the City University of New York (CUNY) to specifically address the soft costs of installing solar that account for as much of 50% of the cost of an installation. NYSolar Smart Partners  |  Map of Partner Jurisdictions

New York State

  • NYSolar Smart SunShares: The Vote Solar Initiative and Sustainable CUNY are teaming up to offer a solar customer aggregation program to organizations and agencies in targeted areas around New York State. This program will reduce customer acquisition costs by working with existing affinity groups to arrange bulk purchases of solar. Organizations participating in the program will be able to offer their employees the opportunity to install solar on their homes at reduced rates, making the residential solar process simpler and more affordable. The NYSolar Smart SunShares program aims for the completion of at least 120 projects and 600 kW of installed solar and has confirmed interest from the City University of New York, the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, the NY State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the City of Albany, and PepsiCo. Other employers are encouraged to participate in this program.

New York City

  • Grid Ready Solar: There are more than 2,400 buildings in NYC with PV potential greater than 200kW, as estimated by the NYC Solar Map. However, solar developers have no screening tool to evaluate the technical and financial barriers to each individual project. Furthermore, the technical feasibility of large-scale PV projects depend on several factors, including building electrical load, type of network connection, and surrounding load in the network. Therefore, a large project that faces no technical issues on one building could require additional upgrades on a building a few blocks away. CUNY, Con Edison and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will analyze the technical risk factors for grid interconnection in New York City and create a public database identifying whether buildings are likely to face interconnection issues to help developers make informed decisions regarding project location and cost. New resources will include: a layer on the NYC Solar Map showing whether buildings may or may not face interconnection issues; a guide to the costs for typical mitigation strategies; and an overview of short- and long-term solutions for medium- and low-opportunity buildings.
  • Community PV Purchasing Program: Solar One, with Sustainable CUNY, will implement a group purchasing program in New York City using best practices from Solar One’s pilot project. They will also develop a long-term business structure for community purchasing of solar energy systems. CUNY’s NYC Solar Map will be utilized as an entry point for interested parties who can use the Map’s tools to determine the solar potential on their rooftop and take next steps.

The NYSolar Smart plan is a strategic effort led by Sustainable CUNY of the City University of New York (CUNY) that supports both Federal and the State solar initiatives and works in partnership with: the New York Power Authority (NYPA); New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); municipalities around the state; and more than 30 organizations representing utility companies, installers, government agencies and industry leaders. Since 2006 CUNY has led the implementation of multiple state and federal solar grants and was recently awarded funding through DOE’s SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge II to implement solutions to lower the soft costs of installing solar across New York State.