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New York to Reduce Cost of Solar

Monday, September 30th 2013 4:12 PM
By GetSolar Staff.
New York to Reduce Cost of Solar

In an effort to install solar across the state by reducing soft costs and streamlining the local permitting process, New York's standardized permit could spur development and private investment, Solar Industry Magazine reported. 

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority partnered with the City University of New York and the New York Power Authority to develop a standardized permit. NYSERDA and NYPA approached CUNY with a budget to reach out to multiple municipalities to gauge the permitting process. After talking with municipalities, the New York Conference of Mayors, the Association of Towns of the State of New York, solar photovoltaic installers and utilities, CUNY designed a standardized permit. 

In order to incentivize municipalities to adopt this state-wide permit and process, NYSERDA's Cleaner, Greener Communities program is offering each municipality that participates between $2,500 and $5,000, depending on each region's population. 

"NYPA, through close coordination with NYSERDA, CUNY and Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo, has worked diligently to advance the NY-Sun initiative," Gil Quiniones, president and chief executive officer of NYPA, told Solar Industry. "The growth of the renewable energy market is a major priority of the governor, and we look forward to additional steps, such as NYPA and NYSERDA's current push to streamline permitting for even larger commercial solar electric systems."

The Benefit of Adopting a Standard Solar Permit Process
By utilizing a standardized permit process, the soft costs - the price tag of mounting hardware and other installer related expenses - entailed with installing solar modules should fall. In the case of New York's standardized permit, it not only would reduce costs, but it would expedite the process for solar systems 12 kilowatts or smaller, saving labor costs and allowing installers to move more quickly from start to finish.

However, municipalities can still modify or customize permits any way they see fit, as well as attaching a fee of any amount they want, Watertown Daily Times reported. This new standardized permit and process would also not modify, change or clear up any zoning ordinances, which still vary widely from county to county. 

Gov. Cuomo's office outlined that this measure seeks to demonstrate a workable business model that could be scaled up in the marketplace. In that way, commercial PV installations and utility-scale systems may one day benefit from what it learned in New York.

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