Community Shared Solar
“Community shared solar” programs, “Shared Renewables” or “Community Distributed Generation (DG),” allows individuals, groups and businesses to purchase or subscribe to portions of a large solar array based off-site and managed by a third-party.
These programs have been developed in several states as a way to provide access to the economic benefits of solar to renters, residents of multifamily buildings, and others who cannot install solar on their rooftop. New York State’s Community Net Metering policy, which was approved by the NYS Public Service Commission in July 2015, allows the output of a single solar array to be distributed as credits to multiple utility bills. This allows residents of a multifamily building with a roof that is not a good candidate for solar the opportunity to “subscribe” to a portion of an off-site solar array and receive credit for its energy production on their electric bill. Community shared solar projects must have at least 10 subscribers, and each member must receive 1,000 kWh of net metered credits per year – not to exceed their historic average annual consumption. Subscribers with an average monthly peak of 25kW or greater cannot account for more than 40% of project credit allocation.
There are two phases to the NY-Sun Community Distributed Generation or ‘Shared Renewables’ program.
Phase 1 began on October 19th, 2015, whereby projects may interconnect to the grid if they fall within a “Community DG Opportunity Zone”, which are designated by each Investor Owned Utility (IOU) or have at least 20% of its subscribers be low-income residential customers, which are defined as a customer participating in a State or utility energy assistance program.
Phase 2 opens to all IOU customers regardless of income level or location within a Community DG Opportunity Zone on May 1, 2016. Community shared solar subscribers must reside in the same utility and NYSIO zone where the project is located. A description of the program can be found in the NYSERDA stakeholder meeting NY-Sun Community DG webinar
Community Distributed Generation policies only apply to Investor Owned Utilities, and thus do not apply to PSEG Long Island utility customers. PSEG Long Island has indicated that it will develop its own shared renewables program.