ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — In a story Dec. 22 about incentives for solar energy production in New York, The Associated Press incorrectly reported the size of projects eligible for the NY-Sun program. They must produce at least 200 kilowatts of power, not 1 megawatt.
A corrected version of the story is below:
Solar energy projects finally getting boost in NY
Sunnier outlook for solar energy projects as NY boosts incentives to close gap with neighbors
By GEORGE M. WALSH
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — An array of shimmering panels covering 3 acres in New York's Finger Lakes is a sign of the state's latest push to catch up to its neighbors in the Northeast that have set the pace in recent years for promoting solar energy.
The project in Romulus that will produce much of the electricity for the Seneca County sheriff's department was funded in part with a grant of almost $1 million from the state's NY-Sun program. The initiative by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration will provide tens of millions of dollars a year for public and private projects producing at least 200 kilowatts of solar power, with most installed so far falling between that and a megawatt, the equivalent of about 200 typical residential installations.
An initial round of competition in 2012 allocated $30 million to 16 developers in New York City and the Hudson Valley who planned to put a total of 34 megawatts online by the end of this year.
One aim of NY-Sun is to help meet goals for increasing the share of the state's energy needs covered by renewable sources, now dominated by hydropower. Another is to close the gap with other states that moved more aggressively and quickly to encourage development of solar.
Massachusetts, for example, saw 129 megawatts of solar installed in 2012 compared to 60 in New York, according to an industry group. At the same time, 415 megawatts were installed in New Jersey, where regulatory policy created a system that has utilities effectively subsidizing solar owners to meet renewable energy standards.
"It quickly comes down to policies," said Michael Johnson, a California-based expert on funding such projects, who returned to his home county this month to help flip the switch on the Romulus system. "Every state does it their own way."
Developers say Massachusetts and Vermont outpaced New York, in part, because of more generous incentives for a wider range of projects.
They say New York limited subsidies to smaller residential and commercial projects until the launch of NY-Sun last year.