Broad deployment of clean, distributed energy resources, like community and commercial solar, is essential to the success of Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative and the achievement of the state’s climate and clean energy commitments. The REV has the potential to transform the way electric power is produced, distributed, and sold in New York State by facilitating the development of a de-centralized and resilient energy grid designed to incorporate clean energy and reduce air pollution.
Recent actions by the Public Service Commission (PSC) and Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) threaten to derail the clean energy progress the state has made over the last decade, especially when it comes to the development of large scale commercial and community solar energy systems. New York’s success has been driven, in part, by the state’s strong net metering laws, that provide developers and ratepayers with a predictable and stable source of compensation for excess energy produced by qualified renewable energy systems. The PSC and LIPA are attempting to replace existing net metering laws with an alternative compensation system through a proceeding known as the Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER). The complicated new scheme has created a level of uncertainty in the markets that, according to clean energy developers, is discouraging solar investments in New York.
This legislation restores stability to the state’s solar markets by directing the PSC and LIPA to continue retail net metering for all customer classes through 2021. This will give the PSC time to work with stakeholders to develop a new VDER tariff that properly accounts for the value renewable energy systems bring, not only to the electric grid, but also the public at large in the form of cleaner air, reductions in carbon emissions, system resiliency, and reduced transmission and distribution costs.
This bill amends the Public Service Law to direct the PSC and LIPA to continue retail net metering for all customer classes through the end of 2021. It requires the PSC to conduct a public stakeholder process to develop a new draft valuation of distributed energy resources compensation mechanism by June 30, 2021.The bill also expands the eligible rated capacity for solar generating systems to five megawatts for non-residential customers.