Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

June 19, 2008

Governor Paterson Announces Agreement with Legislature on Law to Help Businesses Produce Their Own Reneweable Energy

Enhanced Law Will Vastly Improve Conditions for NY Business by Enhancing “Net Metering”

Legislation Adopts Key Recommendation from Governor Paterson’s Renewable Energy Task Force

Governor David A. Paterson today announced an agreement with the Legislature on landmark energy legislation that will authorize increased development of renewable energy with a process called net metering. Net metering allows electricity customers with qualified renewable energy systems to sell excess electricity back to their local utility.

The bill will significantly expand the State’s net metering law and lead to greater investment by homeowners, farms and businesses in facilities that generate energy from clean renewable sources. By increasing market demand for renewable technologies, the bill will also attract renewable energy manufacturers and installers to New York State.

“I want to thank the Legislature for making this enhanced energy law a reality. In addition to changing the State’s dependency on traditional, fossil-fuel based energy sources this law will be a job creation vehicle, particularly in Upstate New York,” said Governor Paterson. “For instance, those businesses with large roof areas present enormous opportunities for hosting solar energy facilities. If those kinds of resources are fully realized, it could relieve significant stress from our already over-burdened utility grid and improve our energy independence.”

Governor Paterson has long advocated for and championed the cause of renewable energy and enhanced energy independence for New York State. Governor Paterson campaigned on a promise of an enhanced emphasis on alternative fuel sources in 2006, and more recently called for an expanded and enhanced net metering law in February of this year as one of 16 recommendations from his Renewable Energy Task Force.

The bill will significantly expand net metering in three areas of renewable energy – solar, wind and farm waste.

Solar Power
The bill will expand the State’s solar net metering program to apply to businesses, and increase the size of eligible solar PV systems to 25 kilowatts for residential customers and up to 2 megawatts or the customer’s peak load (whichever is less) for non-residential customers. The law will also increase the maximum amount of electricity that the utility would be required to buy back through net metering. Additionally, the law will provide the Long Island Power Authority with authorization to implement non-residential solar electric net metering pursuant to Public Service Law requirements.

Wind Power
The bill will also authorize net metering for wind technology for all utility customer classes, including non-residential classes. Previously, the law authorized such systems for residential and farm operations only. The law will also allow non-residential wind electric generators to net meter up to the lesser of their peak load or 2 megawatts, and increase the maximum size of wind facilities for farm operations from 125 kilowatts to 500 kilowatts. Caps on net-metering enrollment in utility service territories will also be increased.

Farm Waste
The size of a farm waste electric generation system that can be net metered will increase from 400 kilowatts to 500 kilowatts.

Previously, the Governor’s Renewable Energy Task Force had identified New York’s net metering law limitations as a barrier to broader use of distributed renewable energy generation.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said: “I applaud Senator Maziarz and Senator Johnson for providing leadership in the Senate on this critically important issue. Net metering can advance many sources of alternative energy in New York State, promote economic development and help us save energy. At a time where New York’s families are struggling with rising energy costs, this is an opportunity to provide much-needed relief. I’d like to thank the Governor and the Assembly for partnering with us on this legislation.”

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said: “The expansion of net metering paves the way for greater independence and cost-savings for New York’s energy consumers. This legislation will encourage residents, businesses, schools and non-profits to reduce costs by producing power through non-polluting alternative sources such as solar and wind technologies. By signing this bill, Governor Paterson joins the Assembly in its commitment to reducing costs and creating cleaner energy for our consumers.”

Senate Minority Leader Malcolm A. Smith said: “Governor Paterson has long been an advocate for alternative energy sources and I am extremely pleased the Legislature has once again taken a step towards embracing them. The net metering law will attract business and employment opportunities to the state, as well as reducing household utility costs—providing the much needed relief to working families. There is an appreciated need to tap into as many alternative sources to produce energy, especially with soaring gas prices expected to hit record highs during the summer season.”

Senator George Maziarz, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee said: “Greater access to net metering will give consumers greater control over their own energy future. Net metering will lower energy bills, promote renewable energy sources, and help create green-collar jobs in New York. This is a significant step in the right direction for finding a way to meet our long-term energy needs.”

Assembly Energy Committee Chair Kevin Cahill said: “Together with conservation, net metering represents our best hope to reduce peak energy demand immediately. I am proud to have been able to work with the Governor and my colleagues in the Legislature to come to an agreement that will help protect the environment, spark economic growth and meet our energy needs.”

Senator Owen H. Johnson said: “New York’s current restrictive net metering law has been an impediment to the widespread use of renewable energy, but that’s about to change. The net metering legislation we’ve agreed upon will promote greater use of solar, wind and farm waste energy and will increase the proportion of renewable electricity consumers use. I commend Governor David Paterson for his leadership on this issue and Senator George Maziarz for his hard work and resolve in getting this important legislation passed this year.”

Assemblyman Steven Englebright said: “With rising energy prices and increasing concerns about the impact of fossil fuels on our climate, New York takes a big step today to address these serious challenges. A broader segment of energy consumers will now have greater incentive to produce the types of clean power that will help reduce utility costs without further damaging our environment.”

Assemblyman Thomas O’Mara said: "Serving as the Ranking Republican Member on the Assembly Energy Committee, I want to commend Governor Paterson for his leadership in supporting this legislation, as it will help reduce energy prices for Upstate families and employers, along with promoting the use of renewable energy sources that are cleaner, greener and lessen our dependence on foreign oil."

2008 Press Releases