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PSC Pushed for Plans on Solar Power for All

Solar power should be accessible to apartment dwellers and low-income New Yorkers. (cverkest/pixabay.com)
Solar power should be accessible to apartment dwellers and low-income New Yorkers. (cverkest/pixabay.com)
August 9, 2016

NEW YORK - Clean energy advocates want the Public Service Commission to release its plan to make solar power accessible to all New Yorkers. The PSC launched its Shared Renewables Initiative last year, with the goal of making solar power available to everyone regardless of where they live, especially people who don't own their homes or can't afford to install solar panels.

According to Susan Spencer, CEO of ROCSPOT, an organization in Rochester promoting renewable energy, the state's temporary goal for low-income participation must be a permanent part of the plan.

"This target of a minimum 20 percent low-income individuals is something that the Public Service Commission absolutely has to include," she said.

A PSC report outlining plans for removing barriers to low-income households and communities that want solar power is eight months overdue.

Things like community-owned renewable energy sources could really benefit those who suffer the most from energy insecurity and environmental injustice. And Spencer noted that some critical regulatory changes could make a big difference.

"By being able to participate in off-site solar installations, vast swaths of New Yorkers who were previously unable to go solar can now go in that direction," she added.

Spencer said engaging people of every economic status will be critical to meeting the governor's goal of getting fifty percent of the state's energy from renewables by 2030.

And Spencer pointed out that having a focus on community driven projects will do more than increase access to renewable energy sources. The switch to renewables can bring other economic benefits for the community.

"So having them be built by New York state companies and be worked on by folks that live in the areas where the projects are being built is a really critical component," she said.

Release of the Public Service Commission report on the Shared Renewables Initiative has been postponed twice and is now scheduled for August 15th.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY