On September 26, 2014, New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced NY-Sun awards worth $94 million for large solar electric projects in New York, leveraging $375 million in private investment. The projects will increase New York State’s solar capacity by more than 214 megawatts, representing a 68% increase over the total amount of solar generating capacity installed as of the end of 2013.
The new solar will be installed at 142 project sites throughout the state: 50 at businesses, 41 at schools and school districts, 36 at government and municipal facilities, and 15 at nonprofits, health care institutions and colleges. A total of 49 developers submitted proposals in response to this solicitation, which is a significant increase in proposals compared to the two previous solicitations. Many are large solar developers that had previously focused their renewable energy initiatives in states other than New York. The projects will receive NY-Sun funding based on project completion and annually based on energy production.
The average size of proposed projects increased to more than 1.8 megawatts with the latest solicitation, which is more than twice the average project size a year ago. Aggregate bid prices for awarded projects declined from $1 per watt to 55 cents per watt in Con Edison territory and from 68 cents per watt to 41 cents per watt elsewhere. As a result of the drastic decline in price per watt, 1.6 times more solar energy will be generated per ratepayer dollar than the previous year.
The awards are part of the NY-Sun Initiative, established in 2012, which provides funding incentives for clean energy that will decrease over time as the industry scales up. Over the past two years, a total of 316 megawatts of solar have been installed or are under contract in New York, which exceeds the total solar capacity installed over the preceding decade. According to Governor Cuomo, “New York is quickly becoming a national leader in renewable energy by building a competitive solar industry” and the NY-Sun awards exemplify the importance placed on growing the renewable energy industry in New York.