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NYSERDA Solar Programs and Incentives New Yorkers Need to Know

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers numerous programs and incentives to support and encourage the development of solar and other renewables and to share the benefits with New Yorkers. We’ve highlighted a few of those programs that we think communities and businesses should be paying attention to. As we come across more relevant solar programs, we will continue to update this list.  

What is NY-Sun?

If you’re interested in benefiting from solar, then NY-Sun should be on your radar. NY-Sun is a partnership between public and private companies to encourage the growth and adoption of solar energy. NYSERDA created NY-Sun to bring together programs and incentives to make solar more affordable and accessible for New Yorkers. As such, it’s a key resource and source of information and funding for any business, local government, or individual interested in benefiting from solar, and the website is worth reading, and even bookmarking.  

Most, if not all, of the programs listed below are facilitated through NY-Sun and fall within NYSERDA’s umbrella.  

Clean Energy Community Program

The new Clean Energy Community (CEC) provides access to grant funding to communities that complete at least four High Impact Action items. The website provides clear guidance on the criteria to receive grant funding as well as access to tools and resources to get you there.  

OYA Renewables has helped other communities access grant funding through supporting their High Impact Action items and their grant documentation. If you have questions about the program or would like help with your own grant application, reach out to us and we’ll help you out.  

The Benefits of CEC  

Grant funding to implement clean energy technology

OYA Renewables’ existing community solar agreement with municipalities can be leveraged to:  

Community Solar (Community Distributed Generation Program) 

The Community Solar (also known as Community Distributed Generation) Program is administered by NYSERDA but typically, companies like OYA Renewables develop, build, and operate the community solar projects. Local communities can also own and operate their own community solar projects.  

This program ensures that the benefits of solar are accessible to a wide range of individuals and businesses and supports the delivery to energy customers in New York. 

What is Community Solar?

Community solar provides a shared solar power system that allows multiple households, businesses, and local governments to benefit from a single solar installation. This model offers an alternative solution to privately owned solar installations, which may be cost prohibitive, while increasing access to the power of clean energy. Participants in a community solar project subscribe to a portion of the solar energy produced, and in return, they receive credits on their utility bills for the electricity generated. 

Benefits of Community Solar 

Community solar offers numerous benefits for both individuals and the environment. Here are some key advantages: 

Accessibility: Community solar makes solar energy accessible to a wider range of people, including low-to-moderate (LMI) communities who cannot install solar panels on their own properties. 

Cost Savings: Participants in community solar projects can save up to 10% on their electricity bills by receiving credits for the solar energy generated. 

Environmental Impact: By supporting community solar, individuals and businesses contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and promote a cleaner and more sustainable energy system. 

Community Choice Aggregation:  

Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) automatically enrolls customers in energy programs created by their local government. The benefits are rolled out immediately and will not impact their usual service and energy delivery.  

Often this program is used to enroll households and businesses in a community solar program, but it can be used for other purchased energy. If a customer does not want to participate, they can simply opt out. But with a 10% savings in community solar, many customers do not see a reason to opt out. This program particularly helps low-to-moderate income areas with low participation in clean energy programs. 

NYSERDA provides toolkits and CCA administrators to help local governments develop CCA programs.  

The Benefits of CCA 

Automatically sharing the benefits of clean energy with constituents. 

Solar for All 

Solar for All is a program targeted to low-income households and disadvantaged communities to ensure they have equitable access to the benefits of solar, whether it is residential rooftop solar or a community solar program. These programs provide financial support and incentives to support adoption of solar energy they would otherwise be locked out of. 

Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an additional $7 billion in funding allocated to Solar for All through the Inflation Reduction Act with three tiers of program categories. The deadline is August 14th for the Notice of Intent (NOI).  

OYA Renewables has several community solar projects that are participating in the Expanded Solar for All program in New York State. If you would like to learn more about OYA Renewables ESFA community solar projects, you can read about it in our news section

How does NYSERDA Encourage Community Solar Growth? 

When it comes to community solar, NYSERDA offers various incentives and programs to encourage the development and participation in community solar projects across the state. These incentives aim to drive the construction of new community solar projects and expand access to clean energy.  

How Solar is Valued: The Value Stack 

Also known as the Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER), the value stack determines the value of energy generated by community solar and other distributed energy resources. Solar projects are compensated through bill credits and the value is determined by where and when they provide electricity to the grid. They consider factors such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions, improved grid reliability, and avoided infrastructure costs. A full list of the factors they consider is available on the NY-Sun website.  

By incentivizing community solar projects through the value stack approach, NYSERDA promotes the overall value and positive impact of solar energy in the state. 

Finding Community Solar Projects in New York 

Find a community solar project in your area. 

Community solar, supported by NYSERDA’s incentives and programs, offers an accessible and sustainable pathway to benefit from solar energy. By participating in community solar projects, individuals and businesses can contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, save on electricity costs, and support the development of clean energy solutions in New York State. NYSERDA’s commitment to promoting community solar plays a pivotal role in accelerating the transition to a greener and more sustainable future. 

NYSERDA plays a crucial role in advancing clean energy initiatives in New York State. The agency works towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting energy efficiency, and fostering the adoption of renewable energy sources. 


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