April 22, 2024
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces New York Selected to Receive Nearly $250 Million for Solar Projects Benefitting Low Income Residents

Governor Hochul Announces New York Selected to Receive Nearly $250 Million for Solar Projects Benefitting Low Income Residents

Funding Award Expands New York State’s National Leadership and Commitment to Increase Access to Clean Solar Energy

Supports New York’s Climate Act Goal to Obtain 70% of the State’s Electricity From Renewables by 2030

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced New York is one of 60 applicants selected to receive funding by the United States Environmental Protection Agency through the $7 billion federal Solar for All grant competition for solar projects benefitting low-income New Yorkers. The state is expected to receive nearly $250 million to expand New York State’s national leadership and commitment to increase access to clean, affordable solar energy to low-income residents. Today's announcement supports New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection goal to obtain 70 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources such as solar by 2030.

“New York State has positioned itself as a leader in community solar, ensuring more residents than ever before have access to clean, affordable solar energy,” Governor Hochul said. “We thank President Biden, Administrator Regan, and the New York Congressional Delegation for their support and are proud to partner with the Environmental Protection Agency to advance this historic investment in community solar and build a clean and healthy future for New Yorkers.”

The grant funding, awarded to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) on behalf of coalition partners New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), the City of New York, and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), will allow New York to expand benefits for disadvantaged communities and low-income residents by enhancing the State’s portfolio of highly successful and effective solar deployment, technical assistance, and workforce development programs, as a part of the NY-Sun initiative. NYSERDA will also implement new programs that target specific barriers to solar deployment for low-income New Yorkers, partnering with HCR, the City of New York and HPD to do so. The finalization and execution of award agreements is expected by this summer, at which point NYSERDA will work with coalition partners and stakeholders to design and implement Solar for All funded programs over the five-year program period.

The EPA Solar for All award will fulfill a critical need to build out New York’s proven, robust rooftop and community solar programs serving residential customers. The funding will expand solar access for the New York City low-income market with support to allow for infrastructure upgrades, provide increased benefits to disadvantaged residents, and tackle the barriers of affordable and multi-family housing solar deployment. It will also allow for the continuation of crucial workforce development programs and extend the reach of residential solar to diverse urban, suburban and rural communities across the state.

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said, “Today we’re delivering on President Biden’s promise that no community is left behind by investing $7 billion in solar energy projects for over 900,000 households in low-income and disadvantaged communities. The selectees will advance solar energy initiatives across the country, creating hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs, saving $8 billion in energy costs for families, delivering cleaner air, and combating climate change.”

NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “With this Solar for All grant, we are proud to work with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and our partners to expand our successful NY-Sun initiative. This critical funding will allow us to provide more low-income families with clean energy while supporting our collaborative efforts to achieve a more reliable, equitable, zero-emissions electric grid.”

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “We are excited to partner with NYSERDA to deploy Solar For All funds to low income households throughout New York State. This award will help HCR meet our goals of reducing on-site carbon while reducing energy bills for low-income New Yorkers. Thank you to the Biden Administration for their support of New York's nation-leading climate goals and to Governor Hochul for her continued commitment to providing clean, affordable solar energy to our State's low-income residents.”

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said, “The Inflation Reduction Act is powering a major $250 million boost in residential solar power for families across the Empire State. This is a win-win-win: helping New York fight climate change, lowering costs, and creating new, good-paying jobs. Solar is the most cost-effective form of electricity and one of the easiest ways to help families lower their energy bills every month. I was proud to support NYSERDA’s Solar For All application and this Earth Day, the future of New York’s energy grid is looking sunny, clean, and bright thanks to the historic investments of our Inflation Reduction Act.”

Representative Nydia M. Velázquez said, “This Earth Day, I am proud that our state is taking significant steps to curb the use of fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy. This $250 million in funding for New York State under the Solar for All grant program will help deliver solar power to working families, lowering energy bills and emissions in the process. I was proud to vote in favor of the Solar for All program through the Inflation Reduction Act, and I thank the Biden administration and Governor Hochul for helping make this possible.”

Representative Adriano Espaillat said, “We are appreciative of the Biden Administration and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan for selecting New York as a recipient of Solar for All grant funding of nearly $250 million to help further investments in solar and climate initiatives throughout our state. I look forward to continuing my collaboration with Governor Hochul and environmental justice advocates to strengthen our commitment to achieving our 2030 climate goals and ensuring the accessibility of clean, reliable, and sustainable energy for all New Yorkers and families across our region.”

New York City Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi said, “The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund is a historic investment in solar power nationwide and we want to thank the Biden Administration and the EPA for accelerating this activity in the State and New York City. These funds will help homeowners access solar panel financing free from predatory loans, accelerate our clean energy at affordable housing, reduce electricity bill costs for thousands of New Yorkers, create new green jobs, and increase New York City’s portfolio of clean energy.”

New York City Chief Climate Officer and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala said, “A year ago in PlaNYC, Mayor Adams and I announced we would invest in solar energy through new programs and partnerships to help low-income households in all five boroughs install solar – and today, this award from the EPA recognizing city and state partnership will make it a reality. New York City and NYSERDA’s application yielded the largest Solar for All allocation in the country, and effective collaborations like this will continue to reduce GHG emissions from buildings, animate the market for solar, and create good green jobs.”

Solar Energy Industries Association Vice President of State Affairs Sarah Birmingham said, “The solar and storage industry congratulates the Hochul administration for securing a Solar For All grant that will help drive down electricity costs for New Yorkers and support the state’s economy. This funding provides an important opportunity for New York to leverage the Biden administration’s commitment to addressing climate change. It will expand solar access to thousands of residents with critical initiatives that will create jobs and allow New York’s clean energy economy to continue to thrive.”

New York Solar Energy Industries Association Executive Director Noah Ginsburg said, “Rooftop and community solar are providing utility bill savings and clean energy to a growing number of low-income families in New York. NYSEIA applauds the EPA for this significant investment in New York's nation leading clean energy programs. New York's distributed solar industry looks forward to working with NYSERDA, New York's housing agencies, and the City of New York to leverage this investment and deploy impactful solar projects that serve disadvantaged communities across the Empire State.”

Coalition for Community Solar Access Northeast Regional Director Kate Daniel said, “The Coalition for Community Solar congratulates NYSERDA and its partners on New York's impressive EPA Solar for All award, which is a testament to the state's commitment to expand access to affordable, clean energy. These federal funds will further New York's leadership in community solar, providing even greater benefits to disadvantaged communities and low-income customers.”

Vote Solar Northeast Regional Director Elena Weissmann said, “Today’s announcement means we are one step closer to getting this funding to people who need it most. Solar For All in New York will mean bill savings, good jobs, cleaner air, and resilient neighborhoods across our state. Frontline and BIPOC communities have, historically and at present, had to pay more for energy; financially and through public health impacts. They’ve reaped far less benefit in return. New York has led the way on ensuring that disadvantaged communities are central to our clean energy transition and this award bolsters that work. Together with our partners, Vote Solar looks forward to ensuring these resources are distributed where they are needed most and we stand ready to aid agencies with effective implementation. We appreciate NYSERDA leveraging this opportunity and empowering public sector partners to be changemakers in our solar future.”

The Solar For All grant competition is funded by President Biden’s Investing in America agenda through the Inflation Reduction Act, which created EPA’s $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. Consistent with New York’s Climate Act, the EPA’s Solar for All program also advances President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which set the goal that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, and other investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. All of the funds awarded through the Solar for All program will be invested in low-income and disadvantaged communities.

Today’s announcement builds on New York State's success as the nation’s leading community solar market, which has been underpinned by robust support from NYSERDA's NY-Sun initiative, the state's signature $3.3 billion solar initiative. Currently, installed distributed solar projects, combined with the projects that are under development, bring the State to over 90 percent of the current goal to install 10 gigawatts of distributed solar by 2030.

New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan

New York State's climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is advancing a suite of efforts – including the New York Cap-and-Invest program (NYCI) and other complementary policies – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030 and 85 percent by 2050 from 1990 levels. New York is also on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economy-wide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York's unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $28 billion in 61 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, nearly $3 billion for clean transportation initiatives and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 170,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector as of 2022 and over 3,000 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with more than 400 registered and more than 130 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the state’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the State to help target air pollution and combat climate change.

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