New state laws that allow businesses to sell renewable
energy they generate back to their utility take
For many years, New York state has had a so-called
"net metering" law that allowed residential customers
to sell solar or wind energy they produced back
to a utility.
Now, in a victory for the renewable energy industry
-- since the commercial market has much more potential
-- businesses will be able to do the same. In addition
to wind and solar, the legislation also covers farm-waste
Gov. David Paterson signed the laws in August
after striking a deal with the utilities to put
caps in place limiting the size of the systems.
For instance, a solar system at a business cannot
have a rated capacity of more than 2 megawatts.
That is designed to ensure that businesses do not
get into the power-generation business and compete
Under net metering, customers get a credit from
the utility on their energy bills.
The new laws are expected to be of most benefit
to the renewable energy markets, which will be able
to sell more solar and wind power equipment if more
businesses decided to hook up to the grid.
Carol Murphy, executive director of the Alliance
for Clean Energy New York, an Albany group that
promotes renewable energy use in the state, said
Wednesday that despite the bad economy and lower
energy prices, an uptick is expected for solar and
wind systems distributors and installers.
By generating their own electricity, businesses
can better predict their energy costs, she said,
a valuable business planning tool.
"They want to have a handle on what their costs
will be," Murphy said.
The state also is offering financial incentives
to companies that buy equipment to interconnect
to the utility.
"That makes a big difference," Murphy said.