Solarize Westchester, an innovative public-private partnership designed to accelerate growth of the solar market in Westchester New York was supported by NYSERDA under the $1 billion NY-Sun initiative. The program was created to address inefficiencies in existing zoning, permitting, and in customer acquisition – all of which add considerably to the cost of solar installations in Westchester and elsewhere in New York State.
Solarize Westchester comprised two program components:
- Solarize Campaigns – designed to significantly increase residential and commercial solar installations in selected communities through time-limited market aggregation campaigns with competitively selected PV installers. The first round of four Solarize Westchester campaigns launched January-February 2015 and concluded in June 2015 while the second round of four campaigns launched in October 2015 and concluded in April 2016.
- Solar-Friendly Permitting and Zoning – designed to lower permitting and zoning barriers to PV installations via direct interactions with local governments’ building departments and elected officials.
Program goals were exceeded during the Solarize Campaigns, with 405 signed contracts totaling almost 3.8 MW of capacity (Round 2 commercial campaigns are still active and will add to this total) and representing a direct investment of over $14.6 million in PV installations.
In addition, there was significant success related to solar friendly permitting and zoning. By the conclusion of the program, eight municipalities had adopted the New York State Unified Solar Permit:
- Bedford (Town)
- Croton-on-Hudson (Village)
- Dobbs Ferry (Village)
- Somers (Town)
- Cortlandt (Town)
- White Plains (City)
- Yonkers (City)
- Tarrytown (Village)
Nine other municipalities adopted some other solar-friendly changes (e.g. reduced solar checklists, reduced permit fees, utilizing ARB consent agenda, etc.) to their procedures for processing permits for roof-mounted PV systems:
- Larchmont (Village)
- Rye Brook (Village)
- Mamaroneck (Town)
- Mount Kisco (Village)
- Yorktown (Town)
- Pound Ridge (Town)
- Lewisboro (Town)
- Irvington (Village)
- Hastings-on-Hudson (Village)
Seven additional municipalities had such changes under consideration.
Solarize Westchester will continue to fuel additional growth in solar markets throughout Westchester County through increased awareness of the benefits of installing solar technology, reduced barriers to solar installations and perhaps through future Solarize campaigns.
Full description and analysis of the Solarize Westchester program is available here. For additional information please contact:
Nina Orville, Program Manager, Nina@AbundantEfficiency.com