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New York’s First Community-Shared Solar

Panels in blue show the project layout for the Halfmoon community solar array. Photo: EnterSolar

Panels in blue show the project layout for the Halfmoon community solar array. Photo: EnterSolar

By George Harvey

The State of New York has adopted a comprehensive energy strategy called “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV). Its purpose is “to help consumers make better and more informed energy choices, enable the development of new energy products and services, protect the environment and create new jobs and economic opportunity throughout New York State,” according to the program’s web page, ny.gov/programs/reforming-energy-vision-rev.

REV provides residents of the state with an option for off-site net-metering. This means that it provides opportunities for people to have their own solar power, even if they do not own a place to put solar panels. Those who rent apartments, own condominiums without solar access, or have roofs that are always in the shade can invest in solar systems in other places, and receive credit for the power the systems produce on their power bills. REV, however, does not exclude others. Under the program, homeowners, businesses, schools, and others may join in, as well.

The state is organized into zones by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO). REV users must be in the same zone as their off-site project and served by the same utility. A map of these zones can be seen at bit.ly/nyiso-load-zone-map.

Halfmoon Community Solar

The first shared renewables community solar project in New York State was announced by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, New York State Department of Public Service, EnterSolar, and Clean Energy Collective. The Halfmoon Community Solar Project will provide power to New York State Electric & Gas Corporation (NYSEG). It is large enough for over a hundred customers. They must live in NYSEG’s Capital Region territory, which includes parts of Columbia, Essex, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Washington counties.

Halfmoon ground breaking on April 27th. Photo: EnterSolar

Halfmoon ground breaking on April 27th. Photo: EnterSolar

The Halfmoon project is specifically for renters, homeowners and low-income residents. It will include more than 1,700 panels in an array in the Town of Halfmoon. It is expected to be completed by late summer and will generate an estimated 741,230 kilowatt-hours annually, sufficient to power 103 average-sized New York homes.

Speaking of the project, Paul Ahern, President of EnterSolar, said, “EnterSolar could not be more proud to be part of this notable project for New York State. This partnership is a model not only for solar in New York, but nationwide.”

NYSEG customers interested in this program can visit Halfmoon.RooflessSolar.com or call (844) 232-7253.

High Peaks Solar

High Peaks Solar is starting community projects of one to two megawatts (MW) for customers in NYISO Zones F (Capital Area) and E (Mohawk). The sites with greatest customer interest are being prioritized. The first projects are expected to come on line in the middle of next year.

Contracts will vary to match the needs of customers. One option will be for 0% down with payments on a pay-as-you-go basis. With higher down payments, the price per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity will be lower. Also, the length of the contract term is variable. Accounts can cover amounts of electricity up to 110% of average usage, with a cap of 25 kilowatts.

People who change residence can take the account with them if they stay in the same zone and are serviced by the same utility. Otherwise, the account can be transferred to a new owner. There may be an option to renew the contract open for those who stay to the end of their contracts.

High Peaks intends to design, build, and maintain the solar array, without passing ownership over to someone else, maintaining long-term relationships with their customers. Their website is highpeakssolar.com, and the phone number is 518-209-6727.

Also of note in New York

NYSERDA, Pratt Industries, and EnterSolar completed the second largest state-supported solar project in New York City. The 1.4-MW project is on the roof of a Pratt Industries plant on Staten Island.

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