PSC Staff Recommends Boosting Solar Credits for Community Solar

The State of New York Department of Public Service (DPS) issued a White Paper on July 26, 2018 that will make it significantly more lucrative for building owners to add solar to their buildings. By increasing the value of electricity for community solar projects, we will see more New York City buildings adding solar to their roofs.

What is Community Solar?

Community Solar is a policy that allows solar electricity generated at a large central site to be sold to subscribers within the same utility and load zone (for example ConEdison in New York City). This allows for economies of scale for large installations to take place that bring down the price of solar in addition to allowing people with poor solar roofs (homeowners) and those with no roof (renters) to access renewable solar energy. Solar developers build the projects on a roof and the credits are then sold to subscribers at a discount allowing them to save money on their electricity bills.

The value of the credit for community solar project is set under the VDER (Value of Distributed Energy Resources) tariff that was adopted in November 2017. The idea for the tariff was to allow solar energy production to more closely align with it’s true value to the grid. While the intent of this tariff is a step forward for renewable energy, many solar advocates questioned the complexity of the new tariff and how it would affect the industry’s growth. Many argued that it was too difficult to predict how much a customer would save and that the values were too low for the benefit they were providing to utilities.

Boost in Solar Credits for Community Solar

According to the recently released white paper, it seems the DPS agrees with what the industry has been saying since the beginning. The recommendation from DPS Staff is to increase a portion of VDER called the Market Transition Credit (MTC) by nearly 40%. This will have a significant impact on the ConEdison service territory by making the credit sold to subscribers more valuable and therefore kickstart community solar installations around the city.

This change to the MTC, combined with the recent update to the NYSERDA rebate program and the extension of the solar property tax abatement means that if you are a building owner in New York City — there has never been a better time to look into solar. If you have a roof that you think would be a good candidate for solar, contact us for a free analysis today.

Read the white paper here.