New York Schools To Increase Solar Awareness

The installation of solar power systems on schools in New York State is expected to also result in increased solar uptake in surrounding communities.

As part of the state’s push for more solar, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced “K-Solar”, a program providing incentives and assistance to school administrators to install solar panels.

In addition, the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA)  and New York Power Authority (NYPA) will use the solar schools and other institutions as a base from which to “solarize” entire neighbourhoods.

“For example, NYPA could facilitate a solar project at a school, with NYSERDA providing a financial reward to the school for every surrounding home that installs solar as well, thus incentivizing the school to rally the community around the benefits of clean energy,” says the recently released 2014 State Of The State report (PDF) from Governor Cuomo.

With almost 5,000 schools in New York State and many of those well-suited to hosting solar arrays, K-Solar could act as a catalyst for major uptake.

K-Solar is part of the Community Solar NY initiative; a comprehensive community solar package touted to “make solar energy available to all New Yorkers that want it.”

The umbrella program for these initiatives is NY-Sun. In December, Governor Cuomo announced a further USD $108 million for NY-SUN to go towards cash incentives for the installation of residential and commercial scale solar power systems.

In addition to subsidies, NY-SUN provides long-term program certainty, support for innovative financing options and also aims to reduce “soft costs” of solar development by assisting local governments adopt model zoning and permitting procedures.

Govenor Cuomo has set a goal of 3GW of solar capacity, enough to power 465,000 New York homes.  New York’s recent track record for solar installations is quite impressive – developed capacity in 2013 is expected to have reached four times that of 2011.