May 17, 2021

SunCentral

New York Redefines the Future of Community Solar

Kacie Peters, Director of Business Development, and Kelly Hadayia, Director of Subscription Services

Community Distributed Generation (CDG), also known as community solar or shared solar, is getting a facelift. A lot has shifted since New York signed one of the most promising and progressive energy laws in 2014, including the state’s renewable energy goals. The aggressive but attainable Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) implemented a lofty goal of 50% renewable energy generation by 2030. Including the standard declining incentives, New York developed a new approach to pricing and credit values through the “Value of Distributed Energy Resources” (VDER) — incentivizing developers to build assets that supported REV.

Since then, the Empire State has approved 2.3 GW of new renewable capacity. 300 MWAC of the total capacity is directly from distributed community solar. Its success led to Governor Cuomo increase the overall renewable energy goal to 70% by 2030.

Despite this record growth (or due to it), many developers have seen their project development come to a halt as various incentives were exhausted and uncertainty around key pieces of VDER, such as the “E- Value.” Now developers are left asking, “What’s next?”

Two programs are on the horizon: remote crediting and the inclusive community adder. Each has vastly different goals and structures for shared solar, requiring new approaches to financing, strategy and risk mitigation. While it is important to understand the current uncertainty that exists and the impact of future incentives, one clear headline remains — increasing access to renewable energy. Let’s take a deeper look at these new structures, opportunities and what the future holds for community solar in New York.

 

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