New York wins $1.4 million DOE award to support solar power

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said his state won a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge II award to support NYSolar Smart, a project to streamline the solar installation process in the state and lower the cost of solar power using innovative financing mechanisms and information technology (IT) solutions, which was developed by the City University of New York (CUNY) under the governor's NY-Sun initiative.

"We are advancing a statewide clean energy economy that protects the environment and provides new solar energy to businesses and residents," Cuomo said. "This award from the U.S. Department of Energy will help move our NY-Sun initiative forward as we collaborate with local government and organizations to establish best practices on solar installation, develop innovative information technology tools and reduce the cost of solar energy. I thank the federal government for their support as we continue to make New York State a clean energy leader."

NYSolar Smart is a collaborative effort among CUNY; New York Power Authority (NYPA), which will match the $1.4 million federal award with $500,000; the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which will provide a $100,000 match; 16 cities, towns and villages representing more than 50 percent of New York State residents, which will provide $390,800 to the effort; and more than 30 organizations representing utility companies, installers, government agencies and industry leaders.

Participating cities, towns and villages in NYSolar Smart include:

City of Albany

City of Ithaca

City of Rochester

City of Poughkeepsie

Town of Clifton Park

City of Yonkers

Town of Huntington

Town of Warwick

Town of Southampton

City of Syracuse

City of Schenectady

Town of Red Hook

City of White Plains

New York City

Town of Hempstead

Village of Warwick

The NYSolar Smart program will create a toolkit of policies, programs and resources to enable cities and towns, utilities, industry and residents to reduce the time and cost of installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems that provide electricity on-site at homes, businesses and other buildings. These tools include virtual net-metering guidelines for master-metered buildings, group purchasing programs and model zoning ordinances.

In addition, IT tools developed under this award encompass web-accessible permitting, solar maps, market analytics, and a pilot for a customizable online customer acquisition system and a one-stop PV market portal. These efforts build upon the NYPA-supported New York State Solar Map currently under development by CUNY.

NYSERDA is also providing municipalities that adopt the recently developed New York State Unified Solar Permit and procedures with between $2,500 and $5,000, depending on population, through Cuomo's Cleaner, Greener Communities program.

The DOE's SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade.

Through SunShot, DOE supports efforts by private companies, academia, and national laboratories to drive down the cost of solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour.

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