The Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition and Coop Power have teamed up with community leaders in Chenango county, a rural municipality of 50,000 people in New York’s Southern Tier to create a shared solar project primarily serving low and moderate income residents.
Since 2006, the County has been hit by two 100-year floods. Combined with the depressed economy, this left the area with a 16% poverty rate. Our ~700kW ground-mounted system, located in NYISO zone E, will be on property owned by a homesteading couple. They, like, the regional elected and economic development officials involved, see shared solar as source of employment, economic development, and a signal that they are a progressive community.
Our unique combination of a pre-paid PPA with a standard subscription model expands the pool of potential tax equity investors by shielding them from any credit risk, and allows us to enroll low income off-taker regardless of credit with no up front payments.
The team has been working with landowner and communities across the region, and once this initial project has proven out, we will be able to replicate the model across the region, and in conjunction with members of the Community Owned Shared Renewables (CoShare) Working Group of the NY Energy Democracy Alliance, across New York State.
Shared solar is new to New York, and after 18 months in existence, the program has produced fewer than three interconnected projects, and none are accessible to Low and moderate income residents. This project has the potential to be the first of its kind in the state.