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Cuomo Urged to Restore Net Metering

Advocates say replacing net metering has put community solar projects across New York at risk. (pxhere)
Advocates say replacing net metering has put community solar projects across New York at risk. (pxhere)
August 28, 2018

NEW YORK — Ending net metering is killing investment in solar power in New York. That's the message industry leaders and advocates for renewables want Gov. Andrew Cuomo to hear.

At news conferences across the state today, community groups and solar developers are urging the governor to restore net metering for large-scale community solar projects. Almost a year ago, the Public Service Commission replaced net metering with a complex system called Value of Distributed Energy Resources, or VDER.

According to Adam Flint, community-owned shared renewables coordinator with the New York Energy Democracy Alliance, since the change more than $800 million worth of investment in community solar has been threatened or canceled.

"We're calling on the governor to use his authority to restore the option for net metering so that these many millions of dollars of investments and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of jobs can be saved,” Flint said.

Legislation to restore net metering has passed in the state Assembly but did not clear the state Senate.

VDER, which is favored by utility companies, sets prices based primarily on the value of savings in infrastructure costs. But Flint argued that significantly undervalues the benefits of community solar compared to energy generated by burning fossil fuels.

"It does not take into account, for example, the fact that the more solar we put on the less we have to have dirty fossil-fuel plants operating, which, among other things, create asthma problems,” he said.

The Department of Public Service has proposed some modifications to VDER.

Flint called those proposals inadequate. He pointed out that three years ago, Cuomo said all New Yorkers, regardless of income or ZIP code, would be able to benefit from community solar.

"So we're holding Gov. Cuomo to his promise,” Flint said. “And the first step in keeping his promise is to restore the option for net metering."

More information from those in favor of restoring net metering is available here.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY