Robinson: New York looks at a new way to value solar power


For years, that nagging question has been at the center of a longstanding disagreement between the solar energy industry, which needs higher prices to compete with electricity produced with fossil fuels, and utilities seeking lower prices to end what they see as subsidies for an uncompetitive power source.

New York utility regulators believe the answer is somewhere in between.

To them, all solar power is not created equal, and the state Public Service Commission this month took a first step to come up with a new way to put a price tag on it.

Read more here


A Push for a “People’s Commissioner” for the PSC


By month’s end, Audrey Zibelman and Patricia Acampora are expected to leave the PublicService Commission. With this turnover, some clean energy advocates are now asking for Governor Andrew Cuomo to appoint a “People’s Commissioner” to make renewable energy more accessible to lower income New York residents. Kelly Roache of Solstice, a non-profit organization looking to drive down the price of solar energy, explains what that would mean.

Watch interview here

Solar advocates still concerned after state OKs shift from net-metering

ALBANY — The state’s utility regulator has approved a plan to move away from a 20-year-old method of paying for electricity from small solar and other energy resources and to a new valuation system to support New York’s renewable energy goals.

The Public Service Commission on Thursday approved a measure that will transition distributed energy resources away from net-metering, which pays for excess electricity sent to the grid at a retail rate, to a more complex and ostensibly complete payment structure. PSC chair Audrey Zibelman, presiding over her last meeting, said the transition was a key part of the state’s Reforming the Energy Vision.

Read more here

Regulators put a new value on N.Y.’s distributed energy

New York energy officials have said they want to bring legions of small clean-energy units onto the grid. They want these units to function just like power plants, but cut pollution and relieve congestion on the grid.

But to make that real, they have to define the value of these values. Yesterday, they took a crack at it.

The state’s Public Service Commission yesterday approved a policy that will transform the way small energy units, like solar rooftops and home batteries, get paid. The policy aims to reward, as precisely as possible, all the unique benefits that regulators think distributed energy resources (DER) can deliver.

Read more here

Changes ahead for how green energy system owners paid for surplus power


State changes to how owners of small-scale solar and other renewable power systems are paid for supplying surplus power to the grid drew mixed reviews from alternative energy advocates on Friday.

On Thursday, the state Public Service Commission voted to replace the long-standing “net metering” system, where solar, wind and fuel cell owners are paid retail prices for surplus power by their local utility. The commission replaced this with a new “distributed energy” program where payments will be recalculated periodically by utilities based on a variety of factors, including location and environmental benefits.

Read more here

New York replaces solar net metering with new distributed energy value rates

SNL Financial

New York regulators have taken the first steps to replace net metering compensation for solar energy with a more accurate “value of distributed energy” following a lengthy stakeholder process.

The New York Public Service Commission unanimously adopted March 9 the first phase of its Value of Distributed Energy Resources order, which immediately institutes a new rate structure for compensating solar and other distributed energy projects for their benefits and generation they put onto the grid.

Read more here

New York Energy Democracy Alliance

And Ceci Pineda, the Resiliency Training & Policy Coordinator with the Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), a member of the New York Energy Democracy Alliance (EDA), will discuss the EDA’s request for a people’s commissioner in the PSC vacancies.

Read more here

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.

Read more here

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.

Read more here

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.

Read more here….