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Millions of New Yorkers now can share renewable energy

Staff writer |
A new community initiative is enabling millions of New Yorkers to access clean and affordable energy for the first time.

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Proposed in Governor Anderw M. Cuomo’s 2015 State of Opportunity Agenda, Shared Renewables provides opportunities for renters, homeowners, low-income residents, schools and businesses to join together to set up shared renewable energy projects resulting in healthier and stronger communities.

Under the Shared Renewables initiative, also referred to as community distributed generation, customers can join together to share in the benefits of local solar, wind, and other renewable energy projects.

Each individual member’s production would appear as a credit on their monthly utility bill. The first phase of Shared Renewables will focus on promoting low-income customer participation and installations in areas of the power grid that can benefit most from local power production.

During the first phase of Shared Renewables from October 19, 2015 through April 30, 2016, projects will be limited to those that advance one of two specific REV goals: siting distributed generation in areas where it can provide the greatest locational benefits to the larger power grid, or supporting economically distressed communities by ensuring at least 20 percent of the participants are low- and moderate-income customers.

Beginning May 1, 2016, a second phase will make shared renewable projects available throughout entire utility service territories.

In addition, other REV principles can be applied, such as aligning utility incentives to fully support Shared Renewables projects by allowing shared savings or revenues from new business models that facilitate projects at lower costs.

In addition to these changes, the Public Service Commission will immediately commence a collaborative to determine how to continue the encouragement of low-income customer participation in community distributed generation during the second phase.

Customers interested in the Shared Renewables initiative can participate in a number of ways. For instance, the residents of a condominium may want to join together for a shared solar project.

They would need to find a sponsor who will be responsible for organizing the project on behalf of the residents. A sponsor could be a developer or even the residents of the building banding together to form a legal entity such as a limited liability corporation, or LLC.


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