August 27, 2012

Long Island firms win NY solar funding bids

New York state has awarded $30 million in incentives to 16 developers, including at least two based on Long Island, to finance large-scale photovoltaic projects in New York City and the lower Hudson Valley.

The funding, to be used to develop 34 megawatts of solar power expected to go online as of next year, was awarded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative.

Island Park-based EmPower Solar CES and Southampton-based GreenLogic were awarded unspecified incentives in the forms of rebates to support projects. Mercury Solar Systems, which also has Long Island operations, also was approved for funding.
“These awards will help large commercial and industrial businesses to invest in solar power, stimulating economic development, while helping reduce use of fossil fuels and greenhouse gases emissions,” Cuomo said in a written statement.

The funding goes to projects that produce power for on-site use rather than to be sold to utilities, although unused power can be sold in exchange for credit against electric bills.

EmPower CEO David G. Schieren said his company hopes to use the incentives to roll out solar power across New York City rooftops.

“We’re going to be expanding commercial solar activities in New York City,” Schieren said. “New York City is an excellent opportunity for solar. There are a lot of businesses in the boroughs. They’re large energy consumers. They have high electricity prices. They increasingly view solar as a wise investment.”

NYSERDA described the awards, designed to boost use of solar energy by commercial customers in New York City and the lower Hudson Valley, as an innovative way of letting firms bid for incentives.

“This is a rather unique program,” NYSERDA spokesman Alan Wechsler said. “The funding is awarded to the contractors and it is up to the contractors to work out their specific contracts with the businesses that will be installing the solar power. We are providing funding to each contractor to offset the cost of the installation.”

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