NYSERDA Releases 2017 N.Y. Solar Guidebook for Local Governments

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Posted: Tuesday, October 3, 2017 8:48 pm

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority released a revised and updated version of the New York Solar Guidebook to assist communities across New York State in navigating the siting and review processes for the development of clean energy projects. The Guidebook offers information, tools and step-by-step instructions to support local government efforts to develop solar energy resources and create clean energy jobs. Free technical assistance is also available to help local governments become solar-ready.

The 2017 edition includes new chapters addressing the most pressing issues in New York State’s solar market today, including the State Environmental Quality Review process and siting solar projects in agricultural areas. Earlier this year, a chapter was created for municipalities to navigate negotiating payment-in-lieu-of-tax agreements. NY-Sun, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s signature solar energy initiative, created the first New York Solar Guidebook in 2016. It included chapters on streamlined permitting, building code requirements and property tax law issues.

NY-Sun is a signature part of Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to lead on climate change and build a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers by stimulating investment in clean technologies like solar.

"The 2017 New York Solar Guidebook comes at a critical moment for New York’s growing solar market," said Alicia Barton, NYSERDA President and CEO. "As we look to build upon the momentum we are seeing as a result of Governor Cuomo’s nation-leading clean energy commitments, it is imperative that we provide local governments with the tools needed to navigate complex siting and permitting issues, which many localities are experiencing for the first time."

One new chapter, State Environmental Quality Review for Solar, provides step-by-step instructions for municipalities completing SEQR review for large-scale solar projects. Another chapter, Land Use Tools for Siting Solar While Protecting Farmland, describes how municipalities can use special use permits and site plan regulations to allow solar while protecting their most valuable and productive agricultural land.

In February, Governor Cuomo announced that the state’s solar energy capacity grew nearly 800 percent between December 2011 and December 2016. In addition, a large pipeline of "community solar" projects will move toward construction in 2017 and 2018. Community solar is an efficient and affordable new model of solar energy that allows participants to buy a fraction of the electricity generated at large off-site solar facilities. Community solar participants purchase individual panels or the electricity they generate and receive monthly credits on their utility bills, saving them money and extending the benefits of clean energy to all New Yorkers.

SOURCE: New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

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