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NYSERDA, PSC Award $30 Million for NYC/Westchester Solar Projects; Five-Year Program to Grow Renewable Energy Use

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the state Public Service Commission (PSC) have awarded $30 million to help fund large-scale solar power projects that will assist facilities in New York City and the lower Hudson Valley generate electricity for their own use. The $30 million represents the first year of five years of planned funding under the $150 million RPS Customer-Sited Tier Regional Program.

The money was awarded to solar installers, solar developers and real estate owners, including Solar Energy Systems, LLC (SES) of Brooklyn, NY. David Buckner, president of SES, says “SES has received a substantial financial commitment with this award that is now available for some of our projects currently under contract as well as for a few upcoming opportunities that will benefit from this funding.  NYSERDA and the PSC are making it possible for companies like SES to continue to grow and expand the clean tech sector of NY State.”

Potential projects include a wide variety of businesses, all of which are major consumers of electricity -- department stores, discount stores, apartment complexes, Postal Service distribution centers and other sites in New York City and the Hudson Valley. 

"The enthusiastic response to our solicitation confirms the important contribution that solar technology can play in addressing the energy, environmental, and reliability needs of the metropolitan New York City area," said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA.  "The success of this program is another example of New York's leadership in supporting investment in a wide range of renewable energy technologies."

Garry Brown, Chairman of the state Public Service Commission, said: "We are very excited about promoting the growth of solar energy in New York City and the surrounding region. Developing renewable energy resources is a primary goal of the Commission. Programs that encourage renewable energy development will help ensure a cleaner environment and will enable us to take command of our energy future."

In mid-2011, NYSERDA launched the $150 million RPS Customer-Sited Tier Regional Program encouraging large businesses, especially manufacturing facilities; colleges and universities; schools; and other large buildings to take advantage of renewable energy incentives specifically for New York City and the lower Hudson Valley. The incentives are for large-scale photovoltaic and biogas power initiatives, selected through a competitive process. The NYSERDA incentive pays up to 50 percent of the cost of a project, up to $3 million.

NYSERDA will award up to $30 million each year, of which $25 million is targeted for New York City or Westchester County and $5 million is for the Hudson Valley region. The goal is to promote more clean-energy production in a part of the state that traditionally has been a large consumer of fossil fuels. The projects are meant to produce power for on-site use, not for direct sale to utilities. Under certain circumstances, however, unused power can be added to the grid in exchange for future utility credit.

The program is funded under the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The RPS, created by the state Public Service Commission in 2004 to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, is administered by NYSERDA using a surcharge collected from ratepayers served by investor-owned utility companies. The funds help pay for more than a thousand clean-energy projects every year, ranging from large-scale wind farms to photovoltaic panels on private homes.

NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.  NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.

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