New York Launches Community Solar NY to Jumpstart Solarize Campaigns Across the State

For New Yorkers interested in going solar, there’s good news from the state today: From now until January 30th, Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative, designed to help promote 3 gigawatts of solar power by 2023, will help local governments, schools, and local non-profits bring lower-cost solar to their neighborhoods. These groups will use the astounding Solarize model that’s saving consumers an average of 15 to 20 percent and spreading like wildfire across the country. That lower cost is on top of—or should I say “below”—the already staggering price drops solar’s witnessed over the last five years, by the way. 

All of which means that, assuming New York’s solar prices follow the national mean, homeowners can install an average, 6-kilowatt solar system for a mere $16,500, even before any Solarize savings. (This price includes the 30 percent federal tax credit but not any state, local, or utility incentives.) For would-be solar users and all of us dependent on a stable climate and a good economy, that’s great news. 

Solarize programs, sometimes called “collective purchasing programs,” help consumers and solar businesses at the same time. For consumers, they cut costs while providing the technical support that helps regular homeowners, business owners and other non-technical types understand the kinds of systems and financing that best meet their needs. (They’re also a cool way to meet people with similar interests.) For solar businesses, Solarize reduces their big customer acquisition costs and helps manage workflow by creating a steady stream of projects.

Solarize programs also tend to lower overall solar costs in their communities, even for home and business owners not participating in Solarize programs, by increasing competition among installers and bumping up economies of scale.

To help local groups, NY-Sun will provide marketing assistance (including up to $5,000 for promotional expenses), along with technical guidance. School districts that lead or partner with a Solarize campaign in their area, and register for a free evaluation of their schools’ solar power potential, through NY-Sun’s related K-Solar program, can get an extra $2,500 once their successful Solarize campaign wraps up.

In joining the Solarize effort, non-profit groups, local governments and/or schools commit to:

  • leading a community-wide education and outreach campaign;
  • building local support and interest;
  • working with their local jurisdiction(s) to streamline solar planning and permitting;
  • reaching out to local schools (assuming they’re not schools themselves);
  • having the capacity to fulfill their goals; and,
  • following the program’s rules and requirements.

In other words, not such a big haul at all.

Here in New York and around the country, solar is increasingly affordable these days. (Think about it: $16,500 for a home solar system is less money than a lot of people spend on a used car. And, entirely unlike a used car, a home solar system will keep saving you money for 25 years to come.)

With NY-Sun’s help, Solarize can help homeowners and business owners, schools and community groups save even more, all while building the solar industry here in New York.

Wanna help bring more solar to your community? Get started here.

About the Authors

Jay Orfield

Renewable Energy Analyst, Energy & Transportation program

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