The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is offering generous incentives to New York energy users looking to invest in solar to eliminate all or part of their energy load. NYSERDA’s primary incentive mechanism is the Megawatt (MW) Block Program.
Funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis to qualifying solar energy projects, with incentive rates declining (in “blocks”) over time. That means those who act early will receive higher incentives and greater savings.
What is the Program’s Value?
The MW Block incentive is awarded to the developer to offset the cost of building a solar project. The value of the incentive is determined by the system size. The solar project does not need to be located on the same site where the power is going to be consumed.
The MW Block program first opened in May 2015. As we’ve seen with other incentive programs throughout the U.S., initial tranches of funds are consumed slowly as markets familiarize themselves with the program logistics and benefits and subsequent rounds are consumed at a much faster rate. This is happening in New York with full subscription to the second MW block occurring exponentially faster than the first, and now the third seems to be going more quickly than the second. In the ConEd region, the program is still in the first block and offering the highest incentive rate for another 10 MWs of solar capacity. In the rest of the state, the program is already in the third block, with less than 80 MWs of solar capacity remaining when it had more than 120 MWs left just a few weeks earlier.
Visit NYSERDA’s commercial and industrial MW Block dashboard to see what block your project would be in now, and the amount of funding left at that rate.
What is the Application Process Like?
The MW Block program requires applicants to demonstrate significant progress in developing their projects. Because the incentive levels are time-sensitive, an experienced solar developer will guide you through every step of the application process, ensuring you have all the required items.
Your solar partner should take care of all permitting and interconnection details, and be willing to prepare all of the materials required to qualify for MW Block program funding from NYSERDA.
The following items are required in order to submit an application:
- Aerial photos of the PV project site
- Electric customer’s utility bills
- Environmental Assessment
- Coastal Zone Determination
- Interconnection application with a completed preliminary review from the utility
- Submission of applications for all required jurisdictional permits and approvals
- Fully executed binding financial agreement between the customer and the contractor to develop the solar project.