New York Commission Doubles Net Metering Cap

Already at the forefront of our nation’s clean energy revolution, New York is pushing further! At its regular meeting today, the NY Public Service Commission made some very positive moves for advancing solar and clean energy in the state. The official Order is still forthcoming, but Commission votes were clear.

New York sun over Manhattan

Most notably, the Commission doubled the amount of solar and renewable energy eligible for the net metering programs of the state’s investor-owned utilities. Net metering ensures renewable energy customers receive full credit on their utility bills for the valuable clean power they occasionally put back on the grid for use nearby. Along with the landmark NY-Sun program, net metering has been key to the state’s tremendous solar success. With one utility having already surpassed its cap and others quickly closing in (see here), the Commission’s decision to raise net metering caps from 3% to 6% is both timely and prudent. It will provide enough headroom for a total of 1,500 MW of customer-sited generation, and although the state expects to deploy more than 3,000 MW of solar by 2020, this move provides critical near-term certainty for the market to continue its growth.

Vote Solar supported this increased access to net metering benefits through a joint petition we submitted to the Commission several months ago. In today’s ruling, the Commission made clear that they are set on providing the certainty for continued development of solar and other customer-sited renewables while the state’s landmark Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding continues. The REV is taking on the challenge of more accurately monetizing the benefits of solar and reorienting the electricity marketplace around customer participation.

This is fantastic news for New Yorkers who want to put solar on their own rooftops, but the Commission didn’t stop with net metering. State leaders have heard loud and clear that New Yorkers want more solar and clean energy powering their homes, schools and businesses. Recognizing that many of New York’s energy consumers are unable to invest in rooftop solar for various reasons, the Commission also announced a new shared solar stakeholder collaborative to discuss options for expanding solar access via off-site shared solar projects. It’s an issue we have advocated for in New York over the past two years. We are encouraged by this direction and look forward to the opportunity to work with NYSERDA, the Commission, the Governor and legislature to quickly make shared solar a reality for New Yorkers.

All in all, it was a strong day for New York solar policy, and one that we hope will set the stage for even more New Yorkers to harness the sun for their energy needs. To paraphrase Commissioner Patricia Acampora from today’s session, “I have heard that other states have had problems, but this is New York.” Nobody says change is easy, and that’s especially true in the electricity market, which hasn’t seen real innovation in over a century. We like New York’s bold commitment to embracing that challenge head-on and continuing the charge toward a cleaner, safer, more resilient approach to energy.

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