NYS, NY, New York, New York City, Solar, Solar PV, Solar Energy, YSG Solar
May 13, 2021

New York State is on track to achieve its mandated target of 6 GW of distributed solar PV by 2025—with no additional funding from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) necessary to achieve the 6 GW goal. The graphic below, courtesy of NYSERDA and the New York State Department of Public Service (NY DPS), shows a breakdown of the state’s progress towards achieving the 6 GW mandate.

Progress Towards 6 GW Mandate

Progress of Commercial/Industrial & CDG Solar Market: 2014 to 2020

Since the launch of the NY-Sun initiative back in 2014, the New York solar market has seen consistent, significant growth each year. Below, we will run through some key developments in the growth of the NY C/I and CDG solar market between 2014 and 2020.

  • 2014

    • The NY-Sun initiative is launched, targeting 3 GW by 2023, with both residential and non-residential blocks opening.

    • NY-Sun begins work on soft cost reduction, offering technical assistance and resources to consumers, developers, and municipal governments. 

  • 2015

    • The Commercial/Industrial MW Block structure is launched under the NY-Sun initiative.

    • New York community solar is made possible by CDG Order

  • 2016

  • 2017

    • Following years of development and collaboration, VDER is adopted, becoming one of the first time and location-sensitive distributed generation tariffs in the U.S.

    • The Queue Management Order paves the way for future development by addressing gridlock issues with the interconnection process. 

    • The first edition of the New York State Solar Guidebook for Local Governments is launched.

    • NYSERDA releases a PILOT calculator in order to standardize and drive down soft costs.

  • 2018

    • A redesign of the NY-Sun MW Block structure introduces incentive adders for brownfields, landfills, and affordable housing—as well as rooftop and parking canopy adders in ConEd.

    • Maximum project size is increased from 2MWac to 5MWac, allowing for greater cost savings due to economies of scale.

    • The first two New York City community solar projects are completed.

  • 2019

  • 2020

    • The Community Adder is launched for National Grid, NYSEG, RG&E.

    • The Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) opt-out offers another path to lower customer acquisition and management costs.

    • With a mandate of 6 GW by 2025, NY-Sun expands, adding 1,810 MWdc of new capacity to the C/I MW Block structure, and $135 million of benefits for low-and moderate-income (LMI) households and disadvantaged communities.

    • Despite the halting of construction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York State achieves record completion numbers in 2020.

    • The 2020 Clean Energy Standard (CES) Order outlines the path to achieving the targets of the CLCPA

The graphic below, again courtesy of NYSERDA and the New York DPS shows annual C/I MW installed, as well as cost and incentive rates, for each year from 2014 to 2020

Annual C/I MW Installed, Cost, and Incentive

The Decline of Community Solar Incentives

New York state/ratepayer support for CDG projects has declined by 75% from 2017 to 2021, as visualised in the chart below. The chart, from NYSERDA and the NY DPS, shows total support for National Grid CDG projects by tranche, including the NY-Sun MW Block incentive, and the MTC/Community Credit/Community Adder. The chart does not show the tax credit and environmental value.

Total Support for National Grid CDG Projects by Tranche

Solar Jobs in New York State

As we can see in the chart below—again courtesy of NYSERDA & NY DPS—full-time solar PV jobs in NYS have grown steadily, thanks to increasing MW deployment. The full-time job numbers in the chart come from the National Solar Jobs Census Annual Report, while the total jobs per year (including part time) figures are from the NYSERDA New York Clean Energy Industry Report

Solar Jobs in New York State

The Benefits of Distributed Solar 

Distributed solar PV offers a wide range of benefits to New Yorkers. Below are some of the key benefits brought about by the increased deployment of solar PV projects.

  • Distributed solar contributes significantly to the CLCPA goal of a 70% renewable electric grid by 2030.

  • Additional solar deployment displaces fossil fuels, improving NY air quality by reducing carbon emissions.

  • Solar PV offers all New Yorkers access to clean energy—including low-income houses via community solar projects.

  • As shown in the chart above, there are over 12,000 solar jobs in New York State as of 2020—the largest percentage of renewable energy jobs in NYS.

  • Solar PV projects make New York’s renewable energy portfolio more resourceful and geographically diverse.

These are just some of the most significant benefits of distributed solar PV in New York State, though there are many more.

New York State Solar Farms & Solar Land Leasing

Solar farm projects are another rapidly growing aspect of the New York solar industry, with many landowners leasing their land for solar PV projects and generating an additional revenue stream with the assistance of a solar developer. Though open to discussion with all New York landowners, YSG Solar is seeking suitable land in the following counties in particular:

  • Albany

  • Cattaraugus

  • Chautauqua

  • Chenango

  • Clinton

  • Columbia

  • Delaware

  • Dutchess

  • Erie

  • Essex

  • Franklin

  • Fulton

  • Genesee

  • Greene

  • Hamilton

  • Herkimer

  • Jefferson

  • Lewis

  • Livingston

  • Madison

  • Montgomery

  • Niagara

  • Oneida

  • Orange

  • Orleans

  • Otsego

  • Putnam

  • Rensselaer

  • Saratoga

  • Schenectady

  • Schoharie

  • St. Lawrence

  • Sullivan

  • Ulster

  • Warren

  • Washington

  • Westchester

  • Wyoming

If you’re based in any of the above counties, and you’ve got some vacant land, reach out to YSG Solar today and see how much you could earn from a solar land lease—just send us an email or call at 212.389.9215 to learn more.

YSG Solar is a project development company responsible for commoditizing energy infrastructure projects. We work with long-term owners and operators to provide clean energy assets with stable, predictable cash flows. YSG's market focus is distributed generation and utility-scale projects located within North America.


All information in this article (including images and statistics) is from the presentation, ‘Future of New York Commercial/Industrial & Community Distributed Generation Solar Markets’, created by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and New York Department of Public Service (NY DPS).


Featured Photo by Rohit Tandon on Unsplash.