February 2, 2007
|John Maserjian or Denise VanBuren,|
Central Hudson Solar Program Extension Approved
Initiative Benefits Customers and the Environment
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation’s program that allows participants to sell the excess electricity generated through their home’s solar power system back to the utility is being expanded. Called “Net Metering,” Central Hudson’s program is the first in New York to approach its threshold, and the utility voluntarily requested an increase in enrollments set by New York State from 800 kilowatts (kw) to 1,200 kw. The extension effectively raises the number of potential participants, and was recently approved by the New York State Public Service Commission.
Currently, 138 Mid-Hudson Valley residents are using net-metered photovoltaic systems, or solar panels, to convert sunlight into electricity, and an additional 36 systems are currently in progress. This program allows users of these systems to “sell” excess energy they may produce back to the utility through their electric meter, literally spinning it backwards.
“By the fall of 2006, the number of net-metered systems installed and pending under our program was fast approaching the threshold. Interest in installing these systems has been steady, and we’ve developed positive working relationships with both installers and participants. With new applications received each month, the program would soon have ended without this extension,” said Carl E. Meyer, President and Chief Operating Officer of Central Hudson.
“Net metering is designed to encourage the use of clean, renewable energy by homes from small residential photovoltaic systems, with the long-term goal of establishing a statewide network of installation contractors and eventually reducing the cost of these systems,” said Meyer. “It provides a special benefit to participants in that the credit for excess energy produced includes both the supply of electricity plus the delivery fee, which would not normally be credited in an energy sale transaction.”
Systems installed through Central Hudson’s net metering program to date have had some important environmental benefits, as well. “Electricity produced by these systems avoids an estimated 400 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year,” noted Meyer. “The request to extend our net metering program benefits both the environment and supports New York State’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Utilities in New York are required to offer net metering of residential photovoltaic systems up to predetermined thresholds. Residential customers installing photovoltaic systems up to 10 kw in size that meet pre-established equipment and installation requirements may participate in the program. In addition, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers rebates that can reduce the cost of systems by 40 to 70 percent together with low-cost financing; New York State and federal tax incentives for photovoltaic systems are also available. Net metering programs for small, residential windmills and farm-based biogas systems have also been established.
For more information on Central Hudson’s Net Metering program, visit www.CentralHudson.com. For information on incentives offered through NYSERDA, visit www.PowerNaturally.org.
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