Media Mentions

New York’s community solar coaster may be in for a bumpy ride, NYSEIA says

May 11, 2021

New Project Media

Elana Knopp

When it comes to community solar, New York State is seen as a real success story. As of December 2020, 371 community solar projects were operational in the state, comprising 497 MW of capacity. Nearly 90 percent of that capacity was installed in 2019 and 2020, reflecting the successful scaling up of the industry.

Roughly 63 percent of all solar capacity installed in New York last year was part of the community solar program, topping the nation's community solar market in 2020 installations and second in cumulative deployments.

But despite these successes, there remain major barriers to future growth in this critical market, including interconnection hosting capacity constraints, incentive pullbacks, inconsistent local property tax regimes and community opposition.

“In spite of all of the success we’ve had in deploying community solar so far, there is a huge asymmetry in its penetration in the Upstate and Western New York territories versus Long Island and New York City, where most of the population and most of the LMI population is based,” Shyam Mehta, Executive Director of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA), told NPM. "This is what the solar coaster is. It speaks to the fact that none of these infrastructural frameworks were built keeping in mind that one day hundreds of these projects would be generating on-site."