Redesign of NY-Sun Program Adds Incentive for Solar Plus Energy Storage

rooftop solar

This article was written for NYSERDA’s Energy Storage Program to help building operators and owners understand the value of energy storage and to provide technical assistance to implement these projects in New York.  For more information visit the NYSERDA Energy Storage Portal.
Written by Gita Subramony, ERS for Zondits, December 6, 2018

Earlier this year, the  New York State Energy Storage Roadmap was released. It details actions that the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) could undertake to help achieve Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s target of 1,500 megawatts of storage installed by 2025 and a 2030 storage target to be established by the Public Service Commission later this year.

One of the components of the Roadmap included a set of bridge incentives to help spur the energy storage market. In October, NYSERDA introduced the first of these bridge incentives through NY-Sun, Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion initiative to advance the scale-up of solar and move the state closer to having a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry. Solar projects eligible for NY-Sun can now access additional financial support if they include energy storage.

Solar plus storage systems will play a vital role in helping to integrate renewables into a more resilient grid. Storage can allow time shifting of solar generation to better match a building’s load. Additionally, during a grid outage, many existing solar systems may not be able to produce power due to the type of inverter that the system includes. A solar plus storage system could be a better option for not only smoothing out the intermittency of solar energy production but also for increasing building and/or grid resiliency. These installations can be configured to operate in island mode when the grid goes down, and the energy storage system can capture and store energy for use when the sun isn’t shining or when the energy is most valuable. Using a solar array combined with an energy storage system for backup power is a less carbon-intensive method for providing emergency power for critical systems than a diesel generator.

Additionally, solar plus storage can provide greater grid benefits as solar penetration increases. In some scenarios, solar systems produce more energy than the grid needs at certain times of the day. Energy storage systems can store excess generation for when solar production declines in the late afternoon and demand is increasing as people return home from work. In this way, storage can be utilized for smoothing peaks that might occur outside of midday (potentially avoiding a duck curve).

Currently, NY-Sun is offering $350/kWh toward the cost of a storage system paired with solar at commercial and industrial facilities, as well as community solar. The incentive can be applied to new or approved projects, but completed solar projects are not eligible; however, a standalone energy storage incentive is expected to be available in 2019 for customers who have previously installed solar and want to add storage.

Building owners and operators who are interested in the Solar Plus Energy Storage incentive can visit the NY-Sun website, view the NYSERDA Energy Storage Portal, or contact ERS at energystorage@ers-inc.com for technical assistance to assess if a solar plus storage project is viable.

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