Solar for All Program Will Efficiently Deliver Clean Energy Savings to Low-Income Households.

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) has adopted a Statewide Solar for All program that will significantly spur the development of more solar and retail energy storage projects in New York State. Going forward, the Statewide Solar for All program will be administered by each of the investor-owned utilities that serve electric energy affordability program (EAP) customers. In addition, the PSC took action to improve New York’s opt-in Community Distributed Generation (CDG) program.  


“We are ensuring more New Yorkers than ever before will have access to clean, solar energy so we can build a healthy future,” Governor Hochul said. “The Statewide Solar for All program will generate significant benefits for our health, our environment, our economy, and for the thousands of New Yorkers who will see lower electric bills.”


PSC Chair Rory M. Christian said, “The Statewide Solar for All program approved today will reduce costs to install solar power, increase operational efficiencies and provide equitable access to community solar. The initiative’s focus on energy affordability fits within a balanced community solar policy by prioritizing benefits for low-income households and driving the growth of community solar. This initiative will also allow CDG storage projects to participate in the program — creating a simple offtake strategy that provides bill savings to low-income customers — all while providing meaningful benefits to the grid.”


The Statewide Solar for All program’s streamlined and cost-effective model will combine two successful state programs — the utility-managed Energy Affordability Program (EAP) and market-based community solar — to efficiently deliver clean energy savings to low-income households. The new program will begin by delivering an electric bill credit to EAP customers who reside in a disadvantaged community with the ultimate goal of delivering a minimum of $40 in annual bill credits to more than 800,000 households once the program has fully matured. The actions taken today support a long-term program design that drives continued community solar and storage growth and directs the benefits of that growth to New York State’s low-income residents.


The program pools credits associated with renewable generation and distributes those credits on the bills of EAP customers. A robust community solar market will offer low-income customers the opportunity to participate in both their EAP Solar for All program and an opt-in CDG project, affording low-income customers additional community solar savings on top of their EAP bill discounts.  


Additionally, today the PSC granted CDG developers the flexibility to offer up to three different savings rates to opt-in CDG subscribers. Within one year, the state’s investor-owned utilities will be required to implement the capability to allow for multiple savings rates based on the cost of supply of the electricity for a CDG project. This action will not only grow New York State’s solar industry, but allow for a greater number of households, including low-income households, to benefit from community solar projects across the state.      


New York State’s Nation-Leading Climate Plan

New York State’s climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is advancing a suite of efforts – including the New York Cap-and-Invest program (NYCI) and other complementary policies – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels. New York is also on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economywide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York’s unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $28 billion in 61 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the State, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, nearly $3 billion for clean transportation initiatives and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 170,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector as of 2022 and over 3,000 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with more than 400 registered and more than 130 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the State’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the State to help target air pollution and combat climate change.


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