Governor Kathy Hochul announced New York has become the top community solar market in the United States with more than one gigawatt of community solar installed and operational – enough to serve 209,000 homes across the state.
New York also has the largest pipeline in the nation with enough community solar under construction to serve an additional 401,000 homes, ensuring continued access to clean affordable solar for all New Yorkers for years to come.
The announcement accelerates progress towards meeting the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) goal to generate 70 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and the governor’s goal to achieve 10 gigawatts of solar by 2030.
Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin made this announcement in Schenectady County at a 7.5-megawatt community solar project that is paired with 10-megawatt hours of energy storage on the site of a former landfill.
Located in the town of Glenville, the project was developed by DSD Renewables, who is also the owner and operator of the project.
The site is part of a seven-project, 25-megawatt portfolio made possible through a collaboration with the Schenectady County Solar Energy Consortium that provides over $400,000 in energy savings annually to the municipalities and cities of Schenectady County and enables each of the municipalities to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy.
Formed by the county in 2019, the consortium includes the County of Schenectady, City of Schenectady, Town of Duanesburg, Town Glenville, Town of Niskayuna, Town of Princetown, Town of Rotterdam, Village of Delanson, and Village of Scotia.
Community solar enables access to solar for homeowners, renters, and business owners who may not have ideal conditions to directly install solar panels onsite.
Through this arrangement, clean energy is still delivered by a customer’s regular electric providers, and the power produced from the solar array is fed directly back into the electric grid. As the electric grid is supplied with clean, renewable energy, subscribers receive a credit on their electric bills for their portion of the solar system’s output.
Community solar made up 70 percent of total solar installations across the state in 2021. In addition, New York’s distributed solar pipeline is now comprised of more than 708 of these projects totaling 2,300 megawatts, which once completed will help expand access to clean energy for all New Yorkers, including low-to-moderate income (LMI) households and those living in disadvantaged communities (DACs).
This pipeline is complemented by 73 New York State-supported utility-scale solar projects under development throughout the state – together, these projects will deliver enough electricity to power more than 2.2 million homes once completed.
The State’s success in deploying community solar is confirmed by the Solar Energy Industry Association and Wood Mackenzie Solar Market Insight 2021 Year in Review report, not only ranking New York as the all-time national leader ahead of second-place Minnesota, but also highlighting the Empire State as number one in 2021 for installations – more than double second-place state Massachusetts. ■