2016 has seen an unprecedented surge of solar projects in New York, with federal incentives enticing entrepreneurs to lease remote sites outside the city for community solar installations that can deliver power to the urban population.
The growth of solar projects in New York has been on a steady incline according the State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA).
In 2011 the state saw approximately 9,000 projects producing 80 megawatts of power compared with 2015, which saw 45,000 projects producing 525 megawatts of power.
Growth in 2016 is expected to accelerate even faster in the wake of New York Governor Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard, which aims to have the state producing more than half its energy from renewable resources by 2030.
Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard includes an array of incentives for residential and commercial installations and has sparked a landrush from businesses looking to get in on supplying clean energy for the city.
While rooftop panels have been the standard for supplying solar energy and are still common, proposals like those seen in the Village of Owego’s project are looking to lease out areas to build solar farms.
The clean energy recipients of the farm-style solar projects vary: some are group projects, some serve commercial users, and some serve municipal users. According to figures from the NYSERDA over 42 applications for farmed solar projects have been submitted at the start of 2016. It remains to be seen, however how well these businesses will do since, unlike fossil fuels, solar is available to anyone who is clever enough to harness it and, currently, so are its incentives.