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New York offers US$40 million to spur C&I and community solar-plus-storage projects

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the funding at the Alliance for Clean Energy - New York (ACE-NY) annual conference. Credit: Pat Arnow

New York plans to incentivise commercial and industrial (C&I) solar-plus-storage projects, kicking off by making $40 million funding available to support 50MW of storage paired with solar from early November.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the funding at the Alliance for Clean Energy - New York (ACE-NY) annual conference in Albany, to accelerate progress towards New York’s 1.5GW by 2025 energy storage target.

The aim of the funding is to reduce barriers to deployment such as customer acquisition, finding project locations, and interconnections. It also comes as recognition that as New York adds more renewable energy to the grid, the role of storage in smoothing the grid and improving efficiency will become increasingly important.

The incentive targets the C&I sector as well as community solar gardens to help consumers use renewable energy during peak hours such as during the afternoon on summer days, when usage of electricity for air conditioning is high. The storage component will therefore promise to reduce energy bills, take advantage of expiring federal tax credits, and save space by co-locating with solar.

The US$40 million will be offered by the NY-Sun programme, Cuomo's US$1 billion solar investment scheme, which has already supported 85,327 solar projects with a total capacity of more than 1.2GW.

These funds will also be the first storage incentive funds made available since the release of the New York State Energy Storage Roadmap in June, which was developed by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the Department of Public Service, in conjunction with stakeholders. NYSERDA will also be informing communities about the benefits of co-locating storage and solar.

Richard Kauffman, chair of Energy and Finance for New York State, said: "Energy storage will advance even more solar and other distributed energy resources across New York as it improves New York's electric grid and increases the use of renewable electric to power commercial and industrial businesses."

The NY Green Bank, a state-sponsored investment fund dedicated to overcoming current obstacles in clean energy financing markets, which plans to invest at least US$200 million in storage, has also issued an RFI to garner interest from project developers to help it address financing gaps and support projects.

John B. Rhodes, CEO, New York State Department of Public Service said: "Solar-plus-storage projects are a solution whose time has come, as they enhance the value of solar while making energy storage cleaner. This strategic investment from the Clean Energy Fund will accelerate the development and deployment of a variety of energy storage systems and spur future market innovation."

In February this year, William Acker, executive director of NY-BEST (New York Battery and Energy Storage Technology), a consortium created in 2010 to position New York State as a global leader in energy storage technology, blogged for Energy.Storage.News to explain how New York’s seriousness about the technology promises a bright future.

The state has already been proving the benefits of storage in other areas such mitigating the effects of natural disasters. For example, a New York-based project proving the ability of solar paired with storage to provide power in the case of grid outages is now underway at City University of New York (CUNY). 

Cuomo has also mandated that 50% of the state's electricity comes from renewable sources by 2030.

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