Guest Blog: Corey Cantor, intern at the New York State Energy Development and Research Authority and a graduate student at Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

New York State continues making strides to improve access to clean energy sources like solar and wind for low-and-moderate (LMI) New Yorkers. Last month, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and NY Green Bank (NYGB) took a step to help improve access to clean energy sources like community solar for LMI New Yorkers by issuing a request for information (RFI) to gain a greater sense of market barriers and challenges facing stakeholders who specifically focus on the LMI sector in the state.  Through this request, the state will solicit feedback from solar developers, project sponsors, financial institutions, and community development financial institutions (CDFIs) like many of the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) members.

The RFI’s goal is to develop a way to better use resources to increase access to clean energy for low- and moderate-income New Yorkers. The RFI requests feedback by stakeholders, including any information or data showing validity to the risks or perceived risks around financing LMI communities; on existing approaches around clean energy loans and incentives offered by NYSERDA and the NY Green Bank; potential policies such as credit enhancements by NY Green Bank that could lead to more third-parties financing community solar projects; and market barriers that NYSERDA-incentives could provide to help facilitate community distributed generation projects in LMI communities.

CDFIs play a key role in developing projects that may otherwise not have access to capital. Over the past five years, there have been cases of CDFIs starting to lend to customers purchasing clean energy or making energy efficiency upgrades. New York is soliciting feedback from networks like OFN to properly calibrate programs that ensure solar and other renewable energies can be harnessed by all New Yorkers regardless of income.

To read the RFI and offer feedback, visit the NYSERDA portal. The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2018 at 3 p.m.


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