There’s going to be a new way to go solar in central New York. Solarize CNY Communities, the organization that’s helped install solar energy in several homes across central New York in recent years, is moving from rooftop arrays to making it a community affair.
Solarize CNY Communities project coordinator Katelyn Kriesel says all it takes for a resident to take advantage of solar power in this community model, is for them to be in the same utility zone as the arrays that convert sunshine into energy.
“The array could be in Manlius, and someone in Baldwinsville could be using it,” said Kriesel.
This renewable energy model is called Shared Solar, made possible in New York state by a Public Service Commission order last year. The way it works says Kriesel, is a solar developer installs and owns an array, and Solarize CNY signs up homeowners who then would get energy credits on their utility bill.
“In central New York, everyone can just sign on the dotted line, and once the array is up and running, they’ll see a decrease in their energy cost and will be getting energy from a renewable source.”
Kriesel expects this will provide many more opportunities for residents interested in renewable energy.
“We want to have at least one array in each county. But we could have two or three in each county if the interest is high enough, and we can find enough property that is appropriate.”
Last year, enough homeowners installed rooftop solar arrays to add two megawatts of solar power to the grid. This community model is expected to exceed that number substantially according to Kreisel.
"This is the future of solar. Instead of having one-offs where one house goes solar in a neighborhood and one house goes solar somewhere else, we’ll have one big array, or dozens of big arrays that can have dozens of households go solar at a time,” said Kriesel.
Solarize CNY is expected to launch the program in May.