NYC Solar empowerment zones: the strategy
Where solar installations are located can be a valuable component of fully utilizing solar as a resource, especially on America’s largest grid. CUNY began working with the U.S. Department of Energy, NYSERDA, Con Edison, the NYC Department of Buildings and other stakeholders in 2009 to identify areas where installing solar energy systems will provide the greatest benefits to NYC's electric distribution system. Originally known as ‘NYC Solar Empowerment Zones’, these zones were strategically selected geographical regions where solar power is most viable and beneficial from a technical standpoint including “day-peaking” energy usage profiles that conform closely to solar production. Targeted solar power development in the Zones has the ability to play a critical role in reducing peak demand while also potentially deferring or eliminating the need for costly upgrades to the electrical system that would increase electricity rates.
Utility companies across New York State, working with NYSERDA, have also now identified ‘Strategic Zones’ in their service territories where solar generation would provide the greatest benefits to their electric distribution systems. The NYC Solar Empowerment Zones are now folded under this NYSERDA program and will be known as Strategic Zones as well. Solar projects greater than 200 kW located in the Strategic Zones were eligible for an additional NYSERDA incentive above their competitive bid through the NY-Sun Competitive PV Program in 2013.It is anticipated that the incentive for Strategic Locations will be reinstated upon the release of the >200kW Megawatt Block program, which has been delayed until after a Public Service Commission Order on remote net metering issues are resolved.
Strategic Zone Benefits in NYC
- Data Acquisition Systems Free data monitoring devices are available for installation on systems in the Zones to communicate with the utility grid and inform you of system performance.
- Assistance Solar ombudsmen will offer assistance to building owners and operators who are considering solar power.and provide guidance navigating through the City, State, and Federal incentive programs and paperwork that help make systems more affordable.
- Streamlined Permitting The Partnership is working with permitting agencies, Con Edison, and NYSERDA to create a more streamlined and uniform permitting process.