Net Metering Win Will Help Keep NY Shining

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Great news from New York. No – it’s not that lawmakers have successfully delivered massive solar legislation to the Governor’s desk (YET!). But almost as great. In anticipation of an explosion of solar growth from Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative, the New York Public Service Commission just approved a decision to triple the state’s net metering cap. More details and the decision can be found here.

Net metering empowers New Yorkers to use rooftop solar and other small-scale renewables to meet their own electricity needs. Like rollover minutes on a cell phone bill, net metering gives renewable energy customers fair credit on their utility bills for power they put back on the grid for others to use. Vote Solar has worked hard to encourage the state to expand this fundamental customer right (our comments here), and we’re happy to see this decision supporting more clean, safe, reliable energy for a state that desperately needs it.

Today’s ruling raises the cap on net metering participation in NY from 1% of system peak load to 3%. That means that the state’s utilities are required to offer net metering benefits for three times as much clean, local, reliable solar power produced by their customers.

So a big pat on the back to the NY Public Service Commission, and then it’s back to the main event: making sure lawmakers approve a 10-year extension of the NY-Sun program before they go home next week. This net metering decision will clear the road for solar adoption, but we need the 10 year NY-Sun extension to provide an engine for that growth. We need every bit of help we can get – if you live in NY, help us make sure Governor Cuomo and the legislature know they need to finish the job ASAP!

Momentum is high for the bill. The Senate unanimously passed a version of the bill on Earth Day, and the Assembly is poised to pass a different version of the bill. Now we just need them all to work out the differences and agree on a single solar policy that can become law.

The state can’t afford another year of inaction from lawmakers. Hurricane Sandy exposed New York’s business-as-usual energy approach for what it is: fragile and outdated. This solar bill will help New York build a more resilient power grid and tackle climate change head-on.

Go New York Go!

Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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