New York extends net metering to solar projects under 750-kW, among other changes to VDER tariff

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The State of New York’s Public Service Commission (PSC) issued its long-awaited order updating the Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER) tariff, which compensates distributed energy resources, like solar, for the collective environmental and societal benefits they provide to the state’s electrical grid.

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“New York has set an ambitious goal of building enough solar to power one million homes by 2025, and the Public Service Commission’s order is one step on the path to achieving that,” said Sean Garren, Northeast Senior Director for Vote Solar.

For more than a year, the Clean Energy Parties, a coalition for clean energy industry associations,  worked with the PSC to drive the important changes. Among many changes, here are a few key improvements that directly benefit future solar projects in New York:

● Revises the method for how the value of reduced energy demand is determined, making these values more predictable for all solar projects, including projects benefiting municipalities and businesses.
● Creates a “community credit” as part of VDER, which will help ensure that all New York customers, including schools, businesses and local governments are able to participate in community solar projects.
● Extends net metering to projects under 750 kW in size, which will encourage the development of on-site solar projects serving certain commercial customers.

The Clean Energy Parties report there is more work ahead to improve the VDER tariff over the long-term, such as making changes to the way environmental values are determined and addressing billing issues, but these changes are a good first step.

“The Commission’s order will help unlock New York’s community solar market and get projects moving forward into construction across the state – creating access to solar for tens of thousands more homes and businesses,” said Jeff Cramer, Executive Director of the Coalition for Community Solar Access. “It will take continued focus from the Commission to truly transition New York’s outdated electric system into one that provides access to affordable local clean power for all New Yorkers. In particular, we look forward to working with the Commission to improve utility billing services for community solar customers to ensure a positive customer experience.”

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