New York’s Solarize Campaign Harnessing Collective Buying Power For Shared Solar Gardens

Community solar’s hitting the ¨Big Time¨ in New York. Governor Andrew M. Cumo on February 19 announced 900 solar projects are in progress across 26 community Solarize campaigns.

Gov. Cuomo also announced 31 new Solarize campaigns will launch this spring. Part and parcel of the Governor’s NY-Sun Initiative and $1 billion Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategic clean energy plan, Solarize programs aim to foster further solar energy growth via locally organized community outreach.

The Solarize campaigns leverage the combined purchasing power of communities that would like to install solar PV systems. Advantages include streamlined PV contracting, power purchasing processes and discounted pricing that wind up lowering acquisition and consumer costs, the Governor’s office highlights.

Community Solar: High-Yield Investments


The Solarize community solar projects are managed by broad partnerships between local municipalities, planning organizations, sustainability groups, state legislators and business groups. Economically speaking, the $365,000 in technical and marketing support from the NY State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has put into Solarize campaigns is yielding high returns for participants, NY State and beyond, the Governor’s office continues. To date, Solarize campaign participants saved some $1.4 million on the upfront costs of acquiring community solar energy systems, an average of $1,590 per residential or business project.

“Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun program has led to unprecedented solar growth across the State, providing locally produced, affordable energy to residents and business. Solarize campaigns create opportunities for community members to work together to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and better protect our environment,” NYSERDA president and CEO John B. Rhodes commented.

Twelve municipalities, 18 non-profit organizations and a private solar project developer are set to lead the next round of Solarize projects, which are due to commence this spring.

Some projects will participate in NY-Sun’s Affordable Solar program, which Gov. Cuomo announced this past fall. The initiative doubles NY-Sun incentives for households that earn less than 80% of area or state median income. Another 13 applications are for Shared Renewables campaigns, which enable renters and others that are not able to have solar PV systems installed take advantage of the benefits distributed solar energy infrastructure affords.

New York’s solar energy industry has grown rapidly to become the fourth largest in the nation, the Governor’s office points out. Installed solar power capacity has increased 575% and the number of New Yorkers with solar jobs has grown to 8,250, an increase of more than 3,000 from 2012-2015, thanks in large part to the institutional framework put into effect during Gov. Cuomo’s tenure. An additional 1,000 new solar jobs are expected to be created as projects in the state’s pipeline are realized.

The increased efforts make community solar gardens, along with community microgrids, the preferred tools for NYSERDA in achieving its energy vision.  It is likely only a matter of time until the two are combined.

Solarize Campaign Results by Region (Round 1) 

Region/Community Campaigns (as of January 2016)

Total Projects/Kilowatts (kW)

Capital Region (3 campaigns) 92 projects/708 kW
Solarize Albany 39 projects/292 kW
Solarize Saratoga Springs 22 projects/219 kW
Solarize Troy 31 projects/197 kW
Central NY (5 campaigns)  192 projects/2653 kW 
Solarize CNY – Cayuga 35 projects/281 kW
Solarize CNY – Cortland 33 projects/285 kW
Solarize CNY – Madison 34 projects/1291 kW
Solarize CNY – Onondaga 70 projects/568 kW
Solarize CNY – Oswego 20 projects/228 kW
Finger Lakes (3 campaigns) 50 projects/332 kW
Solarize the Flower City 28 projects/141 kW
Solar Seneca 6 projects/53 kW
Solarize Williamson 16 projects/138 kW
Long Island (2 campaigns) 86 projects/825 kW
Solarize Brookhaven 65 projects/648 kW
Solarize Southampton 21 projects/177 kW
Mid-Hudson (8 campaigns) 305 projects/2338 kW
Solarize Beacon Plus 11 projects/70 kW
Solarize Goshen-Warwick 72 projects/639 kW
Solarize Kingston 15 projects/115 kW
Solarize Bedford – Mt. Kisco 25 projects/194 kW
Solarize Cortland-Croton 71 projects/520 kW
Solarize Mamaroneck-Larchmont 56 projects/381 kW
Solarize Ossining-Briarcliff 26 projects/206 kW
Solarize Woodstock-Rosendale 29 projects/213 kW
North Country (3 campaigns)   78 projects/550 kW
Solarize Akwesasne 1 project/9 kW
Solarize Canton 32 projects/228 kW
Solarize Tri-Lakes 45 projects/313 kW
Southern Tier (2 campaigns) 97 projects/941 kW
Solar Schuyler 39 projects/417 kW
Southern Tier Solar Works 58 projects/524 kW
See also


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