Long Island Power Authority expands net metering programs


Kevin S. Law,
President & CEO,
Uniondale, NY, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — January 7, 2009 – Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has become the first utility in New York state to implement net metering for commercial customers and has significantly increased its funding to support the program.

In a statement LIPA says that funding for its renewable programs has been increased by 75 percent from $8 million in incentives under its Solar Pioneer program in 2008 to $14.4 million in 2009. This includes $13.2 million for expansion of the incentives provided for the residential Solar Pioneer program and the creation of a new “Solar Entrepreneur” program for businesses and municipal solar installations with capacities of up to 100 kW.

Under these programs incentives are available for the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, excess power from which may be sold back to LIPA through net metering.

The statement says that since 2000, LIPA has rebated over $36 million on the installation of PV systems. Since its inception, the Solar Pioneer program has seen the number of Long Island-based solar contractors grow to more than 30 companies and has encouraged the installation of PV systems on nearly 1,700 rooftops.

Under new legislation passed last year, New York’s net metering provisions have been greatly expanded, effective January 1, including increasing the size of qualifying systems and enabling commercial customers to participate in the program.

“Despite the terrible economy I believe it is critical for LIPA to continue to invest in renewable power,” said Kevin S. Law, president and CEO of LIPA.

LIPA was recently named among the top ten utilities in the United States with the most solar electricity integrated into its energy mix by the Washington, D.C.-based Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA).
Last year LIPA issued a Request for Proposals for 50 MW of solar energy to be generated on Long Island, which could be installed at school buildings, on commercial and municipal rooftops, along parking lots, atop landfills, and at brownfield sites. More than 30 proposals were received, which are now being analyzed, and a recommendation of award is expected early in 2009.

LIPA is also kicking off Efficiency Long Island this month and has kept funding for energy efficiency programs on par with 2008 levels, despite a call from some to eliminate efficiency spending all together, the statement says. Efficiency Long Island is a 10-year, $924 million program to offer residential and business customers an array of programs to help reduce their energy usage resulting in savings on future bills and achieving significant environmental benefits.

Efficiency Long Island is expected to reduce peak electric demand by 500 MW by 2018. The program also will reduce CO2 emissions by about 12 million metric tons compared to the CO2 emissions that would be produced from new power plants burning natural gas – equivalent to removing 2.5 million cars from Long Island roads.

LIPA is a non-profit municipal electric provider that provides electric service to more than 1.1 million customers in Nassau and Suffolk counties and the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens.