New York: Finding a Win-Win for Solar and Energy Efficiency?

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New York may start giving new support to building owners that intertwine solar with energy efficiency, demand response or energy storage.

The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) recently proposed the idea as part of a broader overhaul of the state’s renewable portfolio standard.

The state wants to help the solar industry become increasingly self-sufficient, to the point where it can cut out financial incentives offered through the RPS by 2020.

In keeping with that goal, NYSERDA recommended a series of strategies to the Public Service Commission. They include a targeted effort to jump start projects that integrate solar photovoltaics with efficiency, demand response or energy storage technologies.

The program would focus on large commercial enterprises that are installing solar, undergoing deep energy retrofits and pursuing zero net energy. The projects would be eligible for fixed-price performance based incentives.

The authority says that targeting this type of project would:

  • Demonstrate the value of performing energy efficiency work on buildings that plan to install PV systems
  • Make it easier for the projects to seek financing
  • Create a channel to market PV systems to building owners already thinking about the energy characteristics of their building

The authority wants to work with key players on this segment of the RPS overhaul during 2014 and begin the program no later than 2015.

NYSERDA’s RPS proposal, filed on Sept. 5,  is available at the NY PSC site. It is Case 03-E-0188.

Offering EV charger grants

On another front, the state is pressing ahead with electric vehicles and offering $2 million for research & development on making EV charging infrastructure easier to use.

The state plans to allot the money to such entities as universities, research centers, and technology-based businesses and manufacturers, according to an announcement by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

What kind of projects stand to win? New York is particularly interested in ways to integrate EVs into the electric grid, increase EV range, and do away with obstacles to EV use. As examples, the state described EV charging stations with battery energy storage to reduce strain on the electric grid, new electric rate structures for EVs, or utility incentives to help reduce the cost of EV ownership.

NYSERDA will offer the grants as part of the state’s effort to create a statewide network of 3,000 EV charging stations within five years. New York now has about 640 public EV charging stations

Proposals are due October 22. For more details see the RFP page at

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.


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