Just last month (February 2020), after feedback from solar developers operating in the area, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) took the decision to increase Long Island community solar incentives. This is a welcome move for solar energy on Long Island, though many in the solar industry are still of the opinion that more needs to be done to make Long Island community solar projects financially viable in the long run.
Long Island Community Solar Incentives
This news means that LIPA will now offer a ‘community credit’ for all Long Island community solar projects. Initially, this credit came in at 2.25 cent per KWh (kilowatt hour), but has now been upped to an improved rate of 5 cent per KWh. Additionally, those Long Island community solar projects under the threshold of 750 KW (kilowatts) can avail of a $200 per KW rebate. These increased incentives are positive news for the value of Long Island community solar projects in terms of their VDER (Value of Distributed Energy Resources) tariff value.
Nonetheless, these improvements haven’t fully satisfied those in the solar industry, who had hoped for a little bit more from LIPA. Although the community credit has more than doubled to 5 cent per KWh from its original 2.25 cent per KWh, developers & entrepreneurs had hoped for a considerably higher credit—10 cent per KWh. This figure is closer to the incentive available for community solar projects in New York City, which is in the territory of Con Ed.
Long Island Solar: By The Numbers
Solar has been growing on Long Island, as it has across the state of New York and the entire country, and some of the figures below should help to outline the progress of Long Island solar so far. Notably, Long Island community solar is somewhat lacking compared to the rest of New York, and many have attributed this to the weak incentives available thus far.
New York State is targeting over 6 GW (gigawatts) of distributed solar by 2025.
Long Island’s portion of this 6 GW figure is 750 MW (megawatts).
So far, Long Island is 80% of the way towards this 750 MW target.
As of Q3 2019, according to Wood Mackenzie, the state of New York has installed 88.5 MW of community solar.
Of this 88.5 MW of community solar installed so far, Long Island makes up only 3 MW.
However, 35 MW of Long Island community solar is in the pipeline.
Long Island Community Solar Program
In addition to the improved community credit, LIPA also introduced the Long Island Community Solar Program, not so long ago, in the fall of 2019. The program includes:
25 MW of community solar.
First 20 MW for low-and-moderate income subscribers.
7% utility bill savings for subscribers.
Moving forward, things look positive for Long Island community solar and the aforementioned LIPA community solar program. LIPA is considering an expansion of the program—to 40 MW—and will also review the community credit rate in the future.
If you’re interested in Long Island community solar, contact YSG Solar today. YSG is highly experienced in community solar projects & subscriptions, having worked in the renewable energy sector for over a decade. Send us an email, or call at 212.389.9215 to find the right solar project for your needs.
By Shane Croghan