New York City residents missing out on community solar, industry report finds
April 16, 2021
Marie J. French
New York City residents have far fewer opportunities than residents elsewhere in the state to subscribe to a small solar project without paying the up-front costs of installation or needing to own a roof, an industry report found.
The New York Solar Energy Industries Association examined the availability of community solar across the state and barriers to the growing industry’s continued success. They are pushing a bill to allow customers in New York City to get bill credits for solar projects built in the Hudson Valley or even upstate New York.
Seventy-eight percent of the community solar projects operating in the Empire State are located upstate and 90 percent of the development pipeline is also slated for upstate, according to the NYSEIA report. So only 1 percent of Con Ed’s customers would be served by the current pipeline while 33 percent of National Grid customers could get the benefit of community solar.
“Until now, folks in New York City have had little access to community solar and solar in general. Unless we essentially remove the barrier… the needle is not really going to move much in terms of downstate residents and [low and moderate-income] communities being able to access community solar,” said Shyam Mehta, NYSEIA’s executive director.