New York City launches Solarize program targeting 350 MW of new distributed solar by 2025

Dive Brief:

  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the launch of Solarize NYC, a city-wide program to expand access to solar through group purchasing campaigns. The program aims to help the city achieve its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emisisons 80% by 2050.
  • The city has tripled its installed solar capacity since 2014 to nearly 75 MW, with 65 MW from privately owned solar and over 9 MW from publicly-owned arrays. Mayor de Blasio’s One City: Built to Last program will use Solarize methods to add 100 MW of public solar and 250 MW of privately-owned solar by 2025.
  • The Solarize NYC program is set up to remove barriers and support communities that want to increase access to renewables. For communities selected to participate, the NYC Solar Partnership will provide technical assistance from solar ombudsmen and funding for marketing, staff time, and outreach. 

Dive Insight:

Solarize is a national movement that began in Portland, Oregon, in 2009. It aggregates a community’s solar customers through a process of outreach that opens the opportunity for a specific and limited time. The community leverages its gathered customer volume to obtain the lowest priced solar through competitive bidding by participating installers.

Programs typically reduce solar installed costs as much as 20% through bidding by pre-vetted installers in a transparent, simplified process. Communities have the option to prioritize local installation companies who hire from the community.

New York, like many municipalities, will make city funding available to support communities’ campaigns. In addition to the technical assistance, the city’s ombudsmen will train local volunteer program administrators and connect communities with local solar experts.

Solarize serves any group that self-identifies as a community, from neighborhoods to affinity groups like houses of worship, membership organizations, or unions. Any interested community must submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) to formally apply. Solar installers must submit applications to be vetted for participation.

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Filed Under: Solar & Renewables Distributed Energy Regulation & Policy