The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has chosen not to pursue the "one size fits all" approach to supporting photovoltaics (and small wind) that is embodied by typical buy-down programs. Instead, NYSERDA has adopted a multi-faceted approach targeting different segments of the photovoltaics (PV) market, including commercial, industrial, and institutional buildings, the residential PV market, "high-value" PV installations, solar on schools, and PV systems on new Energy Star-labeled homes. To support these targeted programs, NYSERDA offers not only direct financial support but also technical support for PV (and small wind) systems, installer training and certification, and low-interest loans.
- In contrast to buy-down programs, NYSERDA's multi-faceted approach allows it to proactively target what it considers the most economical, the most educational, and the most innovative PV (and small wind) applications. This approach is intended to allow NYSERDA to fund PV applications that are most likely to have long-term, sustainable demand and impact in the state.
- NYSERDA's goal is to help companies and markets succeed; one way it does this is by tapping into the expertise of the private market by allowing RFP respondents to identify and propose what they see as the best use of funds to create a sustainable market.
- NYSERDA has committed $5.4 million in funding to its initial commercial, industrial, and institutional PV in buildings program, residential PV program, and high-value PV and wind program.
- Were all planned installations to occur (an unlikely event), 1.3 MW of PV and small wind would be installed, at an average subsidy level of $4/W.
- Though several of NYSERDA's PV programs have encountered roadblocks (most notably, interconnection hurdles have plagued the residential PV program), most programs appear likely to surpass their stated installation targets and NYSERDA continues to roll out new and interesting programs that incorporate lessons learned from the past.
- One potential drawback to NYSERDA's solicitation-based approach is that, unlike an open buy-down program, project-specific solicitations (particularly if issued irregularly) may not enable PV manufacturers and installers to plan for the long term, or encourage them to aggressively market their products or services. To address this concern, NYSERDA is considering a system of rolling solicitations, which would accept submissions every 6 months or so, to keep projects in the pipeline at all times.