Renewable Energy-Related Legislation in New York
A renewable portfolio standard (RPS) was adopted by the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) in September 2004 with a target of 19% to 25% increase in the proportion of electricity used by retail consumers in New York State derived from renewable resources by 2013 after scrutinizing public hearings from more than 150 parties. Two distinct approaches were taken to accomplish the goal. Among them a central procurement approach would cause an increase of 24% and a voluntary green market approach would provide the rest 1%. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) was given the task of monitoring this RPS program. Mainly two tiers of resources were considered eligible under RPS program – a Main Tier and a Customer-Sited Tier. NYSERDA has the authority to procure Main Tier resources by a many means e.g. standard offer contracts, requests of proposal or through auctions also. Under these two tiers RPS also supported incentives programs which were previously supported by System Benefit Charge (SBC). An amount of $45 million was funded for Customer-Sited Tier.
PSC also recommended an Implementation Plan to guide the program through 2013. But an extension was filed by Congress for Production Tax Credit (PTC) allowable for certain renewable facilities with a deadline of December 31, 2005. By the end 22 proposals were submitted and 7 projects were awarded. On April 14, 2005 the Implementation Plan was developed and approved by the Commission which would identify the procedures based on their eligibility and future procurements. On January 26, 2006 NYSERDA was authorized by the Commission to conduct solicitations of Main Tier Resources in 2006 and 2007. NYSERDA approved its Operating Plan for the Customer-Sited Tier on February 12, 2007. On October 28, 2008 PSC issued an order to reallocate funding to the Customer-Sited Tier and subsequently authorized $20.6 million for the solar photovoltaic (PV) category. This program will provide cash incentives for the installation of new Solar Electric or Photovoltaic (PV) systems by eligible Installers. Incentives will be granted till September 2009 on a first-come, first-served basis or until funds are fully committed.
Solar and Fuel Cell Tax Credit
This provision is applicable to taxable years beginning on and after January 1, 2006. It acts mainly on expenditures on PV equipments for residential property and equal to 25% of the total cost of PV equipment and installation. Solar Energy equipment is identified as “an arrangement or combination of components utilizing solar radiation, which, when installed in a residence, produces energy designed to provide heating, cooling, hot water or electricity.” The PV system size is limited to 25 kW according to the net meeting law expanded by S.B. 7171 on August 2008. SunPower is one company targeting New York solar installations, they have sponsored the creation of these articles here on Solar Power Authority.
Local Option – Solar, Wind & Biomass Energy Systems Exemption
There is a provision for property tax exemption for solar and wind energy systems constructed in NY State under Section 487 of the New York State Real Property Tax Law. Local government is authorized to allow or deny it. Property owners can also enter into a contract for payments in lieu of taxes. Generally the exemption will be equal to the increase in assessed value attributable to the solar, wind or farm-waste energy system.
Solar Sales Tax Exemption
NY State issued this exemption program in July, 2005 on sale and installation of residential solar-energy systems from the state’s sales and compensating use taxes. Various systems utilizing solar radiation to produce energy can avail this exemption. No recreation systems are allowed for this exemption. Local Governments can also approve an exemption from local taxes under this law.
NYSERDA – Distributed Generation as Combined Heat and Power (DG-CHP)
This multi-faceted program implemented mainly three initiatives under different categories to achieve its goal which was the advancement of DG-CHP technology within NY State. These three initiatives are new demonstration, existing facility improvement, and technology transfer. A fund of $25 million was granted to invest in one or all of these three aspects of this program.
New York City – Property Tax Abatement for Photovoltaic (PV) Equipment Expenditures
Property tax abatement for photovoltaic (PV) system expenditures was allowed by the NY State in August 2008. Mainly cities with more than 1 million population were eligible. Systems placed in service by December, 2010 can get abatement up to 8.75% against eligible annual expenditures for four consecutive years. Then, systems which were placed in service in between January, 2011 and December, 2012 can apply and avail an abatement of 5.0%. Department of Finance administers this abatement program collaboratively with Department of Buildings.
Town of Southampton – Photovoltaic (PV) Rebate Program
Under this rebate program every individual and commercial organization is entitled to a flat rebate of $2,500 for PV systems of 5kW in the Town of Southampton, NY. The installation cost of the applicant must be paid by the applicant and smaller systems are not accepted under this program. Systems must abide by all the applicable state and local laws. Initially an amount of $50,000 was approved sufficient enough for 20 rebates. This program is due to expire on December 31, 2009.
Long Island Power Authority – Energy Efficient Commercial Construction Rebate Program
Long Island Power Authority has been providing full support to its non-residential customers through this Commercial Construction Program. It’s a utility rebate program availavle for various technologies like Air conditioners, Heat Pumps, Compressed air, Commercial Kitchen Equipment, Vending Machine Controls etc. In return LIPA will retain the ownership of all rights to existing and future emissions credits. And rebate over $10, 000 will require pre-approval.
Long Island Power Authority – Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program
This utility rebate program will provide an opportunity for residential customers to increase the efficiency of their homes. Air conditioning systems and air-source heat pumps can avail rebates under the Cool Homes Program. Efficiency rating is SEER 14 and EER 12. And the owner should get the units installed by Cool Homes Contractor. Moreover, rebates for new and replacement geothermal heat pumps are also available under the Geothermal Energy Wise Program.
Long Island Power Authority – Solar Rebate Program
To develop clean energy alternatives $32 million was funded under this Solar Pioneer Program in 2000 by LIPA. Later LIPA extended this initiative for another five years with an increase of $5 million in funding. Recently the budgets have been – $44 million in 2007, $48 million in 2008, and $53 million in 2009. In 2009 this program has been expanded again and renamed as Solar Entrepreneur program. Through LIPA rebates a downfall in the costs of PV has been observed. Under this rebate scheme customers can enjoy a rebate for residential systems up to 27.5kW. Till January 2008, rebates have been issued for 1,133 PV systems.
National Grid – Commercial (Electric) Energy Efficiency Incentive Programs
Large commercial and industrial customers can be benefited from this new construction program offering energy statistics, technical assistance and financial incentives. A financial incentive up to 75% of the cost of the energy system can also be availed. This program known as Design 2000plus can pay in between 40% to 50% of the total cost involved in a project.
National Grid – Solar Thermal Rebate Program (Long Island and metro New York)
National Grid customers from Long Island and metro New York using solar thermal technologies can get solar thermal rebate to support various applications like solar hot water heating, solar space heating or high temperature process applications. They can get a rebate of 15% off project costs up to a maximum of $1,500. And commercial users on the other hand can avail a rebate of 50% of the project costs or $100,000 per project.