Thu January 20, 2022 8:20 p.m.
Action designed to help disadvantaged communities benefit from clean energy
√ 160,000 low-income National Grid customers will receive direct financial benefits
The New York State Public Service Commission on Thursday approved the first phase of a program under which National Grid’s low-income electric customers currently enrolled in the Energy Accessibility Program (EAP) of the business will automatically be enrolled in a new, expanded solar-for-all program. (E-SFA), which when fully implemented, will save these customers approximately $5 per month on their utility bills.
“The expanded Solar-For-All program is a reasonable and appropriate mechanism to provide community solar bill credits to low-income customers in National Grid’s service territory who have not had sufficient opportunity to participate in the clean energy,” said PSC President Rory M. dit Christian. “The purpose of this program is to improve the equitable distribution of solar benefits to disadvantaged communities, and that is exactly what will be accomplished with our decision.”
Passed in 2019, the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) expanded several statewide clean energy and climate goals, including that New York State develop 6 GW of solar projects distributed by 2025 and that 70% of New York’s electricity comes from renewable energy. sources, such as wind and solar, by 2030. PSC said, “The inclusion of low-to-moderate income (LMI) customers and disadvantaged communities and environmental justice in the clean energy programs of New York State is critical to the success and equity of programs. , as the CLCPA includes a requirement that disadvantaged communities receive at least 35% of the benefits of clean energy programs. »
In pursuit of the CLCPA’s solar and clean energy mandates, in 2020 the PSC authorized an additional $573 million in funding to spur distributed solar development in New York City. As part of this funding, the PSC authorized $200 million in incentives to directly benefit low- and moderate-income customers, affordable housing, environmental justice, and disadvantaged communities; and he encouraged NYSERDA to work with one or more utilities to offer a program to increase utility enrollment of low-income customers in distributed solar energy.
On April 23, 2021, NYSERDA and National Grid filed a joint petition for approval of an E-SFA program to provide community solar power to low-income customers. The joint petition asked the PSC to approve an E-SFA program under which National Grid would aggregate billing credits generated by participating Community Distributed Generation (CDG) projects and distribute them evenly among EAP customers automatically enrolled in the program. .
In the 2020 NY-Sun expansion order, the PSC said distributed solar resources are a critical part of New York’s clean energy system, and the NY-Sun program has been an effective way to drive deployment. distributed solar energy toward achieving the state’s clean energy goals. At the same time, NY-Sun has historically had limited success in reaching LMI customers.
PSC noted, “While CDG has offered the option for any customer to be served by solar power (including those who do not have access to rooftop solar), LMI’s participation at CDG remains limited. Less than 6% of the company’s residential customers registered for community solar are EAP customers. Today’s decision is designed to further boost IMT’s participation in the solar program, and it leverages some of the funds previously authorized to be used to ensure sufficient participation of the CDG project in the expanded Solar-For- All, with a view to providing bill credit savings for participating low-income customers.
“National Grid has nearly 160,000 customers participating in its EAP, and all will benefit from this new program. Customers can opt out of the new solar program, if they wish.