Archive for June, 2010
Call to Action: Support SREC Legislation in NY
As you may have heard recently, there is legislation in the New York assembly to create a solar renewable energy credit (SREC) incentive structure in the State. This would be similar to the very successful SREC market launched in New Jersey. The New York Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act would create 22,000 new jobs in the state and bring 5 Gigawatts of solar online by 2025.
The video below by SolarOne does a great job of explaining how the SREC market would work and all the benefits it would bring to NY.
Some important points are:
- Create about $20 billion in economic activity in the state
- Residential and commercial size systems would benefit
- 140x increase in New York solar capacity by 2025
- Low cost: only about 39 cents extra on each month’s electric bill
This legislation needs to get voted on by June 21 when the Summer legislative break begins. Take action and let your representatives know that you support the Solar Industry.
EmPower’s Matt Mathosian Featured in Newsday
EmPower’s Commercial Project Manager Matt Mathosian was recently featured in Newsday’s Voices of Long Island. From the article:
Mathosian, a project manager for EmPower Solar, an Island Park firm behind some of the largest solar-energy projects here, including a recently completed 100 kilowatt project at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset.
“The renewable-energy industry has got to sustain itself. Equipment prices are coming down, and we’re getting additional incentives as far as tax credits. We’ll accelerate our business in the sector. Today, I’m in Long Beach. The only thing I see all day are oil tankers. What’s the difference if there are wind turbines in the water? Of course we’d like to see the power plants all shut down, if what the government is striving for is a totally sustainable renewable economy.”
Matt appeared in a special series Newsday ran on called “The Future of Long Island: Energy.” Check out the other interesting articles which discuss the unique energy challenges Long Island faces and the potential role of solar energy in future energy decisions.
David Schieren appears in National Building Museum Video
Since its creation in 1980, the National Building Museum (NBM) offers exhibits, presentations, and educational materials on the built environment. For the past 24 years, it has honored leading individuals and organizations in architecture, engineering, construction, planning, and design. This year’s Honor Award was a Salute to Civic Innovators which recognized the design firm Perkins+Will, the founders of the New Orleans Habitat Musicians’ Village, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon.
EmPower’s CEO David Schieren, an alumnus of the Solar Decathlon, was interviewed for a video the NBM created for the award. You can watch the inspiring video below (David first appears at 07:40). Cristina Zancani, David’s wife, also appears in the video:
Will New York get SRECS?
The solar industry on Long Island has undergone dramatic changes over the past 9 months. Last November, LIPA was providing solar electric rebates of $3.50/watt for residential and commercial clients. On March 1, a new rebate structure was instituted, which created set rebate reductions based on the number of rebate applications. In this new structure, the first megawatt of applications received $2.50/watt, the second megawatt received $2.25/watt, and the third megawatt received $2.00/watt. We are currently in the fourth traunch which allocates $2.00/watt for 1 MW of residential installations, and $1.75/watt for 1 MW of commercial and non-profit installations.
Although rebate reductions are a strain, they bring many positive things to light. In just 3 months, more than 3 MW of solar rebate applications have been submitted. There is clearly a demand for solar on Long Island. LIPA’s Solar Pioneer Program has helped to make Long Island one of the best solar locations in the U.S. But this also demonstrates the need for a consistent and predictable incentive structure. It is challenging for consumers and business to plan and make decisions when net system costs can change so suddenly.
That said, there are many alternatives to a rebate incentive structure. In the New York Assembly and Senate, bills have been introduced to create a solar renewable energy certificate (SREC) market in the state. An SREC market is what New Jersey used to successfully grow its solar industry. For every set amount of energy produced, a solar system owner would receive a SREC (in New Jersey, owners receive an SREC for every 1 megawatt hour of energy produced). Utilities would be obligated to purchase SRECs based on a certain percentage of the electricity they sell each year. New Jersey has seen SREC prices usually between $500 and $600. This means an owner with a 10 kW system, which produces approximately 12,000 kWh per year, would acquire about 12 SRECs in one year. These 12 SRECs would in turn have an expected market value of between $6,000 and $8,400.
The New York solar industry should unite behind a common incentive structure to bolster the industry statewide. The SREC legislation could be a great opportunity to further catalyze the solar market. However, if this is not the best option for New York, than everyone in the industry should work together to advance quickly an effective alternative.
What are your thoughts? Do you think SRECs are the way to go or is there a better option?