Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the additional commitment of $108 million in funding over the next two years for residential and commercial solar energy projects under his NY-Sun initiative, bringing the New York State Energy Research and Development Authoritys (NYSERDA) total budget for the next two years to $216 million. The funding, approved today by the Public Service Commission (PSC), addresses growing demand for clean energy throughout the State and supports the Governors mission to reduce the cost of solar by providing predictability and certainty to the industry and support its continued growth.
Solar power is critical to making our environment healthier and our energy system more resilient, Governor Cuomo said. The funding approved today will expand the use of clean, renewable power across New York State and ensure we continue to be a national leader in solar energy. Today's announcement highlights the ongoing success of NY-Sun, attracting the economic benefits of a vibrant solar industry, creating more jobs, and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.
Providing greater certainty to the solar industry will lead to reduced costs and increased deployment, said Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York State. Together with the NY Green Bank and energy efficiency orders, this PSC approval reflects the underlying principles of our support for clean energy: to animate the markets and to achieve greater leverage of public funds for a cleaner and resilient economy.
PSC Chair Audrey Zibelman said, The Commission recognizes the substantial opportunities that solar power offers residential and commercial customers to reduce electricity bills and improve the environment. We fully support the solar power goals set by the Governors NY-Sun initiative.
With this decision, the PSC authorizes NYSERDA to plan a transition of its current solar programs to a regional megawatt block structure that includes a longer-term schedule for incentive rebate levels that change according to a predetermined set of targets; as more megawatts are installed, the per-megawatt rebate level falls. As part of this transition, NYSERDA will continue to set aside $30 million to increase solar installations in the downstate regions. The remainder of the $108 million will be allocated based on regional budgets and market conditions.
Governor Cuomo launched the NY-Sun initiative in 2012 to significantly increase the amount of solar power installed annually at customer sites in New York State. Under NY-Sun, which brings together and expands existing programs administered by NYSERDA, New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), a total of 299 megawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity has been installed or is under development, more than was installed in the entire prior decade. Through these clean energy projects, approximately 145,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions will be avoided each year, the equivalent of removing 29,000 cars from the roads.
At a time when many of our political leaders are failing to address the need to transition to clean energy sources, Governor Cuomo continues to position New York as a leader in solar energy, said Shaun Chapman, president, New York Solar Energy Industry Association. Through the NY Sun Program, which the Public Service Commission has responsibly acted upon, our industry is now empowered to deliver jobs and clean, low cost, renewable energy to all New Yorkers.