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NYSEIA Testimony on New York's FY25 Executive Budget (Environmental Conservation Hearing)

February 7, 2024

On February 7, 2024, NYSEIA's Executive Director Noah Ginsburg provided testimony regarding Governor Hochul's FY 2025 Executive Budget at the Joint Legislative Budget Hearing on Environmental Conservation.

Unfortunately, Governor Hochul's budget proposal does not include any of the distributed solar + storage industry's priorities. NYSEIA's testimony provides an overview of the distributed solar + storage industry, highlights the many environmental and economic benefits of scaling up distributed solar + storage deployment, and encourages the legislature to include NYSEIA's top two legislative priorities in their pending budget proposals and to advocate for their inclusion in the final budget. Those two priorities are:

Modernize the Residential Solar Tax Credit

New York’s Solar Energy System Equipment Tax Credit is New York’s only statewide solar incentive to encourage homeowners to install solar panels. This tax credit is vital for ensuring that New Yorkers can afford electrification and rooftop solar. However, the tax credit has not been adjusted for inflation since 2006, does not support energy storage, and is inaccessible to low-income families and retirees. Modernizing the residential solar tax credit is critical for making clean energy more affordable for all New Yorkers, particularly low-income families and seniors. This important policy proposal was included in Part HH of the Senate’s one-house Revenue Article VII Bill in the 2023-2024 legislative session, and legislation to strengthen the residential solar tax credit has been introduced in the Senate (Harckham S.3596-C) and Assembly (Walker A.6739-A). NYSEIA and a coalition of our allies in the environmental justice and housing community are advocating for New York to include this important proposal in the FY 2025 budget. This proposal would advance equity, resilience and affordability by:

  • Making the solar tax credit refundable for low-to-moderate income households and those who live in Disadvantaged Communities;

  • Removing an arbitrary system size cap for residents living in co-ops and condominiums;

  • Including energy storage as eligible equipment; and

  • Increasing the maximum tax credit amount from $5,000 to $10,000 to adjust for inflation (first cap increase since 2006) and energy storage costs while maintaining the 25% system cost limit.

Community Solar Permitting Reform

Restrictive local laws and NIMBYism are a major barrier to distributed solar deployment in New York State. Unfortunately, a growing number of municipalities are misusing their land use authority to obstruct the development of distributed solar projects, unfairly infringing on the property rights of rural landowners while impeding progress toward the legislatively mandated CLCPA goals. For example, some municipalities will pass recurring solar panel moratoria or impose unreasonable setback requirements that make it infeasible to install solar on most or all of the parcels within a municipality. While large-scale renewable energy projects can circumvent unreasonable local laws through the Office of Renewable Energy Siting (ORES), distributed solar projects have no viable permitting pathway when municipalities unreasonably prevent community solar projects from moving forward. NYSEIA estimates that overly restrictive solar local laws are currently obstructing the development of up to 4.6 gigawatts of distributed solar. Reforms are needed to unlock this potential and sustain cost-effective progress toward New York’s clean energy goals.

New York’s distributed solar industry strongly supports A.3579-A/S.8392, legislation introduced by Assemblymember Fahy and Senator Cooney that seeks to overcome siting and permitting barriers to the deployment of distributed solar. If enacted, the legislation will:

  • Allocate funding to NYSERDA for public education and community engagement to help community residents and local officials understand the benefits and limited impact of distributed renewables;

  • Make renewable energy PILOT revenue exempt from New York’s property tax cap to provide incentive for local municipalities to host clean energy projects; and

  • Create a state-level appeal process that allows projects impacted by unreasonably burdensome local laws to appeal the local agency’s decision to ORES.

Click "READ MORE" to read NYSEIA's full testimony.

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