Community solar advocates oppose change to how projects make money

ALBANY — The Public Service Commission is eyeing changes to the way renewable energy sources — everything from solar panels to small biomass generators — are paid for what they contribute to the electric grid.

State officials see the changes as an important part of the energy system’s transformation. It moves away from net-metering, where resources get paid for excess electricity they send to the grid at a retail rate, to a more complex and ostensibly complete payment structure. The commission is expected to act on the proposal next month and could set a precedent for states across the country that are also considering such changes.

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Solar advocates concerned over proposed state net-metering rules; PSC urged to keep power prices for “Community” array systems

By Brian Nearing

Albany–  Advocates of small-scale solar projects are concerned over potential state changes to the way system owners would be paid for supplying surplus power to the grid.

A coalition of dozens of local lawmakers, environmental groups and businesses is urging the state Public Service Commission to maintain fair rates for power sold from so-called “community solar” projects. Larger than the typical rooftop system a homeowner might install, such systems can have many owners, rather than just one.

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The Push for Community Solar

Governor Cuomo is backing efforts to deter climate change in his recent renewable energy plan. Advocates for community solar arrays, an initiative opened up two years ago to increase access to renewable energy across the state, fear that the plan could backtrack if the Public Service Commission moves away from net metering. Jessica Azulay, program director of Alliance for a Green Economy, and Azriel Alleyne, CEO of Solar Freedom Advocates, discuss their efforts to increase the prevalence of community solar arrays.

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