County-wide community solar campaign launches in New York


New York state recently became the top community solar market in the United States, edging out Minnesota, with the completion of a 7.5MW project in Schenectady County,

“Reaching this nation-leading milestone – with more than one gigawatt of community solar installed – is a testament to New York’s aggressive pursuit of clean-energy alternatives that will supercharge our economy and bring us one step closer to a carbon-neutral future,” Governor Kathy Hochul said.

New York’s distributed solar pipeline is comprised of more than 708 community solar installations, in pursuit of achieving 70% of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and the governor’s goal to achieve 10GW of solar by 2030. Neighborhood Sun is hoping to further increase installations with the launch of a county-wide community solar campaign. The campaign plans to not only educate and spread awareness of community solar, but it is promoting equitable access to clean energy across Columbia County, New York.

In December 2021 Neighborhood Sun merged with Astral Power, a New York-based provider of access to locally produced clean energy, and the company is now partnering with OYA Solar, a solar developer and independent power producer, and the Columbia County Climate Smart Communities (CSC) task force on the educational campaign. CSC is a New York State program that helps local governments take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate.

To stimulate sign ups, subscribers will receive a $100 sign-up bonus and Neighborhood Sun will also make a $100 donation to the county’s sustainability fund in their name.

” We need community solar because only about 30 percent of people can have their own panels,” said Angus Eaton, Chair of the Town of Chatham CSC.

Unlike with rooftop solar, anyone can participate in community solar because it doesn’t involve any installations, costs, or fees for subscribers. Consolidated billing means that subscribers receive only one monthly electric bill, making billing more convenient and increasing equitable access for low- and moderate-income residents. Annual electricity costs can be reduced by up to 10% with the clean energy credits from community solar, according to Neighborhood Sun.

Columbia County residents, businesses, and organizations can through Neighborhood Sun’s SunEngine, the community solar software platform that it acquired in the merger with Astral Power.

New York stands behind its community solar market by incentivizing people with reduced electricity bills for participating in their community’s transition to clean energy. All public utility ratepayers in New York pay a System Benefit Charge (SBC) on their utility bill to support the Clean Energy Fund.

“The CSC Task Force has taken the guesswork out of community solar for its citizens by making it a wasted opportunity for residents and businesses who don’t subscribe,” said Cara Humphrey, VP Strategic Sales, Neighborhood Sun.

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