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Press Releases

Coalition Statement on Passage of Community Solar for Disadvantaged Communities Act

June 11, 2021



*** Legislation furthers the goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act by providing solar energy to disadvantaged communities throughout New York ***

NEW YORK, NY, June 11, 2021—Yesterday, the New York State Assembly passed the Community Solar for Disadvantaged Communities Act (A.3805-A/S.3521-A) with a resounding bipartisan vote of 112-36. Having already passed the Senate 46-16 with another significant bipartisan vote, this legislation is now headed to the Governor for signature. The measure had early and strong support from rank-and-file legislators—more than 40 percent of them were cosponsors of the bill, including 61 in the Assembly and 25 in the Senate.

This effort was led by two champions for clean energy and community solar, Senator Kevin Parker (D – Brooklyn) and Assemblymember Michael Cusick (D – Staten Island), energy committee chairs in their respective houses. Their tireless leadership on this important issue will ensure more New Yorkers, including disadvantaged communities, have access to community solar.

This is the only legislation passed this session that will lower the cost of solar development and guarantee that a minimum of 35 percent of a project’s benefits go to disadvantaged communities. Once signed into law, the bill will also dramatically expand solar energy access to the downstate region, particularly to low- and moderate-income communities.

National and state solar industry groups expressed their enthusiasm for the trailblazing effort made by New York—only the second state to take such action—and provided the following remarks on the passage of the Community Solar for Disadvantaged Communities Act:

New York Solar Energy Industries Association:

“Community Solar has emerged as a key avenue for New Yorkers to subscribe to cleaner and cheaper electricity generation, but until now downstate customers were barred from connecting to upstate solar projects by a regulation that prevented the transfer of bill credits across utility territories,” said Shyam Mehta, executive director of New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA). “The passage of New York Assembly bill A03805A eliminates this arbitrary barrier to clean energy access and opens a new era for community solar development to flourish in New York State. NYSEIA and its member companies are grateful to Assemblymember Cusick and Senator Parker for championing this commonsense approach to building New York's clean energy future.”

Coalition for Community Solar Access:

"The passage of this legislation will enable millions more New Yorkers to benefit from the clean energy economy and save money on their electric bills through community solar," said Kaitlin Kelly O'Neill, northeast regional director of the Coalition for Community Solar Access. “We want to thank Senator Parker, Assemblymember Cusick, and the entire legislature for their leadership on this important issue. This change will make New York’s energy system more equitable and inject tens of millions of dollars into the state’s economy.”

Solar Energy Industries Association:

“For years, community solar has been unable to reach its full potential in New York because customers were unable to subscribe to projects outside of their utility territory,” said David Gahl, senior director of state policy for the east at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “These rules unfairly affected New Yorkers living in heavily populated areas who arguably stand to gain the most from low-cost community solar. We commend Assemblymember Cusick and Senator Parker for prioritizing solar accessibility and shepherding this bill through the legislative process, and we urge Governor Cuomo to sign it into law.”

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About New York Solar Energy Industries Association

Founded in 1994, New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) is a trade association representing over 130 solar energy firms in New York and is dedicated to advancing solar energy use and deployment across the state.


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