New York State PSC approves rules to increase solar power

The New York State Public Service Commission (NYSPSC) recently unveiled new regulations designed to make it faster and easier for solar energy, micro-grids and other distributed generation projects to connect to the electric grid under the state’s new Clean Energy Standard.

The PSC’s order increases the size of distributed generation projects (from 2 MW to 5 MW) that may apply under the state’s “standardized interconnection” process.

In addition, under the previous regulations, interconnection developers had to pay the entire cost of interconnections up front. That up-front cost will now be cut to 25%, although construction will not begin until full payment is received, according to the new Standardized Interconnection Requirements (SIR) approved March 17.

The PSC also amended its rules to enable utilities to more-easily process and analyze the large numbers of applications currently filed by solar and other DG power developers.

“Today’s action is another step in New York’s long-term commitment to bringing clean, low-cost power to every corner of New York State,” said PSC Chair Audrey Zibelman.

“These new regulations will make it easier for distributed generation developers to work with utilities to find the best places to connect innovative solar power projects that will protect the environment, lower energy costs and improve the efficiency and reliability of the electric grid,” Zibelman said.

In developing the order, the PSC took the comments and suggestions from industry developers, utility managers and environmental groups. For example, the Commission will now require the filing of a pre-application report that help utilities determine whether a proposed interconnection project is viable and located in the right geographical area.

“While other states have recently slowed solar development through regulatory actions, New York has strongly embraced the development of renewable power as it considers changes to encourage and promote the financing and installation of solar and other clean-power sources,” said Chair Zibelman.

Today’s decision may be obtained by going to the Commission Documents section of the Commission’s Web site at www.dps.ny.gov and entering Case Number 15-E-0557 in the input box labeled “Search for Case/Matter Number.”

From 2012 -2015, New York has seen an increase of 575% in the amount of solar power installed and in development, which has also generated a significant increase in the number of solar-related jobs across the State.

According to a national report announced in February, New York’s solar industry is now the fourth largest in the nation and currently employs more than 8,250 workers, an increase of more than 3,000 jobs since 2013. In 2016, double-digit job growth is expected to continue with another 1,000 additional jobs created as a result of the state’s robust solar project pipeline, state officials said.

This success is helping New York meet its ambitious target under the 50% by 2030 goal outlined by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) Clean Energy Standard.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.