Peak Load Limitation Lifted with New Legislation in NYS - EmPower Solar

Peak Load Limitation Lifted with New Legislation in NYS

On February 22, Gov. Patterson signed legislation which would improve net metering in New York State by eliminating peak load restrictions. Under the old regulations, commercial entities could not install renewable energy systems that exceeded their metered peak demand in the previous 12 months.

Peak demand is the highest amount of power a building draws over the course of a year. Most buildings in New York experience their peak demand in the middle of the summer, during the middle of a hot day. At this time, they have on their AC units plus all their other usual equipment – resulting in large power requirements. Power required is not the same as energy consumed. A measure of power is instantaneous (kilowatts, kW), while energy measures power used in a specific time period (kilowatt-hours, kWh).

It is possible in New York for a commercial building to have a peak demand of 100 kW (probably occurring in July or August) and an annual energy consumed of 300,000 kWh. The old net metering restrictions would limit this business to install a solar system of 100 kW. Based on the solar conditions of their location, their 100 kW system may produce around 120,000 kWh annually (1200 kWh per kW installed per year). 120,000 kWh is less than half of the energy that they consume each year.

Passing this legislation which lifts the peak demand cap is a big step forward for New York State. Businesses have thus far been unable to install solar systems designed to meet their energy needs. Larger entities will be able to take full advantage of the solar resource falling on their roofs by installing larger solar systems.

Now we await interpretation of the legislation by the Public Service Commission to learn how it will be instituted.

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