Buying Power 101 Workshop: Presentations Available

Building a more energy resilient New York starts with creating clean energy opportunities in

Tom Kacandes, President, Inside Track Solar, Inc. provided a case study on Community Distributed Solar

communities. Local governments can encourage smart and cost-effective energy choices in their communities, not only in government operations but in homes, businesses and community institutions.
New York State municipalities can help decrease the cost of government operations through municipal solar, solar-friendly legislation, group purchasing, and locally-organized community education and outreach.
On May 9, 52 municipal officials gathered in Cold Spring to learn about municipal and large-scale solar and community choice aggregation. They learned how to access resources such as templates for legislation, procurement, and contracts.

Municipal officials gathered at the Buying Power 101 Workshop hosted by the Eastern NY Clean Energy Communities Coordinators

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Buying Power 101: Municipal Solar
Buying Power 101: Municipal Solar

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NY-Sun Overview: Houtan Moaveni, NY-Sun
Basics of Community Solar : Tom Kacandes, Inside Track Solar, Inc.
Community Choice Aggregation: Jen Metzger, Citizens for Local Power

Energize NY, BlueFlame Join to Fund Clean Energy

have begun working together to bringstreamlined project development services and PACE financing to commercial and not-for-profit building owners in NY State for solar photovoltaic, combined heat and power (CHP), LED Lighting and Cool Roof projects.

 

BlueFlame offers financing options in the Commercial and Industrial energy project sector. BlueFlame’s HyperQual, an end-to-end lead generation, underwriting and financing solution, helps to originate and fund small and middle market projects efficiently and at scale.  BlueFlame will be using Energize NY’s innovative PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) financing to structure 10- and 20-year service contracts with their customers.

 

Energize NY Finance is a Clean Energy Communities High Impact Action Item. Energize NY Finance, also known as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing, is a program adopted by an eligible local government that allows property owners to pay back the cost of clean energy upgrades to their commercial or non-profit property through a special charge on their property tax bill.

 

Energize NY Finance enables eligible commercially-owned buildings in New York State to secure funds to tackle significant energy upgrades and renewable energy projects. This financing structure is available through the Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC) for projects that aim to install permanent improvements that reduce energy costs in existing buildings. EIC is a local development corporation and a New York State nonprofit established specifically to assist local government and property owners achieve long-term energy savings and/or generate renewable power for use on site.

 

Recommendations:
  • If you are interested in establishing a PACE Financing program, please contact the Energy Improvement Corporation at (914) 302-7300 or by email at 
  • If your local government has been allocated Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs), consider using them in support of your Energize NY Finance program
  • Read the Energize New York toolkit for templates, fact sheets, and other resources

Knox Volunteers Help Implement High Impact Actions

Amy Pokorny at the Altamont Fair

The Town of Knox proves that no community is too small to be awarded the title of a NYSERDA Clean Energy Community. When Town Board Member Amy Pokorny learned about the program, she mobilized a group of local volunteers and neighbors to help them achieve the Clean Energy Communities (CEC) designation. The Town has limited staff capacity and a population of fewer than 3,000 residents.

The group of volunteers ranged in terms of energy literacy, and several were experts in engineering, building science and renewable energy policy. Each volunteer took the time to learn about the NYSERDA High Impact Actions (HIAs) and organized on the best way to present them to the local leadership and move forward with implementation. NYSERDA has developed toolkits for each HIA and has contracted with local coordinators to assist communities interested in the program. Amy credits the help of the Eastern NY Clean Energy Communities team:

“Robyn Reynolds (CEC Coordinator) made it all possible for us with her guidance, enthusiasm and encouragement, and Greg Mumby is expertly coaching us through the next steps,” said Ms. Pokorny.  “It is a very satisfying experience to be accomplishing such useful work and achieve such important goals at the local level where we can really make meaningful changes. “

Through a creative and collaborative process that proved to be fun and productive, the group was able to win the Town’s designation by taking on Benchmarking, researching and meeting the requirements of the Unified Solar Permit, helping to promote local Solarize Campaigns, attending the Energy Code Enforcement Training and coordinating on energy issues with other towns and the City of Albany.

The Town of Knox completed five of 10 High Impact Action Items:
  • Benchmarking – Adopt a policy to report the energy use of buildings
  • Solarize – Undertake a local solarize campaign to increase the number of solar rooftops

Where there is passion, there is success. Congratulations to the Town of Knox and the volunteers that made it possible: Dee Woessner, Betty Ketcham, Laure-Jeanne Davignon, Robert Price, Rich Weltzin, Debra Nelson, Tara Murphy, Dan Sherman, Vasilios Lefkaditis and Dennis Barber.

Village of Boonville Gains NYSERDA Clean Energy Community Status – One of First in Mohawk Valley

From left: Village Trustee Dick Satterly, Village Treasurer Lisa Kaiding, retired Municipal Commisssion Superintendent Ken Stabb, Environmental Council Chair Barb Freeman, MVEDD staffer and NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities Coordinator Dan Sullivan, and Climate Action Associates, LLC, Planner Greg Mumby in the Boonville Village Chambers at the Clean Energy Community Celebration.

The Village of Boonville has completed four High Impact Energy Actions (HIAs) and has been named a Clean Energy Community by NYSERDA. Local governments must complete four of 10 High Impact Actions to earn a Clean Energy Community designation and qualify to apply for grant funding. At least two actions must have been completed after August 1, 2016.

 

The four HIAs completed by the Village were:
  • Clean Fleets – Achieve 10% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings
  • Benchmarking – Adopt a policy to report the energy use of buildings
In addition, the Village has nearly completed documenting Clean Energy Upgrades of 10% or more.
Local governments in New York State can use the Clean Energy Communities program to implement clean energy actions, save energy costs, create jobs, and improve the environment. In addition to providing tools, resources, and technical assistance, the program recognizes and rewards leadership for the completion of clean energy projects. As a Clean Energy Community, Boonville is eligible to apply for and receive grants to fund additional clean energy projects.
Clean Energy Community Coordinators can provide free technical assistance and consulting services to local governments participating in the Clean Energy Communities program. Contact the Coordinator in your region for more information or to get started.

The Tally: 32 Clean Energy Communities To-Date

Congratulations to the 32 municipalities that have been designated as Clean Energy Communities in Upstate Eastern NY. Each has completed at least four of 10 “high impact actions” that save energy and money and contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions – activities such as tracking energy use in municipal buildings, training for improved energy code enforcement, and enactment of policies to support solar energy.

Under the program, grants are available to 18 communities in each region of the state.  All city, town, village, and county governments, Indian tribes and nations may apply.  The grants range in size from $50,000 to $250,000 depending on the community’s population.  No local match is required.

The municipalities being recognized by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)’s Clean Energy Communities Program are:

CAPITAL REGION: Albany County, Town of Bethlehem, Schenectady County, City of Cohoes, Town of Niskayuna, Town of Knox, City of Albany

HUDSON VALLEY: Ulster County, Town of New Castle, Village of Dobbs Ferry, City of Kingston, Town of Red Hook, Town of Rosendale, Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, Village of Croton-on-Hudson, City of White Plains, City of Yonkers, Town of Ossining, Town of Somers, Town of Marbletown, City of New Rochelle, City of Beacon, Town of Mamaroneck, City of Peekskill, Village of Goshen

MOHAWK VALLEY: City of Gloversville, Village of Ilion, City of Rome, Village of Boonville

NORTH COUNTRY: Lewis County, Town of Franklin, Village of Canton

Clean Energy Communities

Congratulations to the newest municipalities that have been designated as Clean Energy Communities in Eastern NY. Each of these communities has completed at least four of 10 “high impact actions” that save energy and money and contribute to lowering greenhouse gas emissions – activities such as tracking energy use in municipal buildings, training for improved energy code enforcement, and policies to support solar energy.

Under the program, grants are available to 18 communities in each region of the state.  All city, town, village, and county governments, tribes, and nations may apply.  The grants range in size from $50,000 to $250,000 depending on the community’s population.  No local match is required.

The newest municipalities being recognized by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)’s Clean Energy Communities Program are:
MOHAWK VALLEY: City of Gloversville
HUDSON VALLEY: Village of Hastings-on-Hudson, Town of Rosendale, Village of Croton-on-Hudson, City of White Plains, City of Yonkers, Town of Ossining
CAPITAL REGION:  Albany County, Schenectady County, Town of Bethlehem

These communities join Ulster County, Kingston, Dobbs Ferry, Red Hook, and New Castle, which were previously designated.

Community Solar Takes Off – With a Home Heating Oil Company Leading the Way

One of the first Community Solar projects in New York State is on line, developed by an

Tom Kacandes, President, Inside Track Solar, Inc.

Ulster County building owner who employed a sophisticated tax strategy in the construction of a unique solar array. The discount electric power was then marketed to a small group of customers already doing business with a home heating oil company.

SMCBC, LLC hired Inside Track Solar, Inc. to lead the contracting, development, and construction of 532 bi-facial panels on a medical arts building at 918 Ulster Avenue, Kingston.

The solar panels were made in nearby Highland by Prism Solar Technologies, Inc.Inside Track Solar President Tom Kacandes specified the system to maximize the amount of power produced by elevating the panels higher above the roof than any previous system so that the bi-facial panels can make additional power from light reflected by a white roof installed for the purpose. The roof not only adds to the solar kilowatt-hours per year, but also rejects infrared solar rays to keep the building cooler in the summer, reducing cooling demand and improving tenant comfort.

Building owner Robert Ryan made an additional investment in new, more efficient HVAC units on the joint advice of his real estate consultant, Joseph Deegan, principal, SVN Deegan-Collins Commercial Real Estate Associates and Kacandes. The solar kilowatt-hours produced by the new system go directly to the grid and are allocated by Central Hudson Gas & Electric to two dozen residential customers of HeritagEnergy, a home heating oil company, via their new affiliate Heritage Solar, which charges a discounted rate for the solar credits they receive. Heritage Solar plans additional Community Distributed Generation or CDG projects now allowable under new state rules to serve many more of their 10,000+ residential customers.

The Ryan development is currently the only community solar project in Central Hudson, Orange & Rockland, Con Edison and PSEG Long Island territories. Kacandes now is helping the owners of HeritagEnergy commercialize a solar panel rack technology that allows panels to form a waterproof roof. More information about this technology, for which he holds two patents, can be found at www.insidetracksolar.com

Buying Power 101: Municipal Solar Workshop

Building a more energy resilient New York starts with creating clean energy opportunities for communities.  Local governments can encourage smart and cost-effective energy choices in their communities, not only in government operations but in homes, businesses, and community institutions.

New York State municipalities can help decrease the cost of government operations through municipal solar, solar legislation, group purchasing, and locally-organized community education and outreach.

The Hudson Valley Regional Council is hosting a municipal solar workshop on May 9th, from 8:30am – 12pm at The Episcopal Church of St. Mary-in-the-Highlands in Cold Spring, NY, to help local governments understand the opportunities available to increase the number of solar rooftops in their jurisdiction through legislation, group purchasing, locally-organized community education and outreach.

Community Choice Aggregation speakers will include, from left, Jen Metzger, Citizens for Local Power; Glenn Weinberg, Joule Assets; Javier Barrios, Good Energy; and Louise Gava, MEGA.

Attend the Buying Power 101: Municipal Solar Workshop to:
– Learn about municipal and large scale solar and community choice aggregation.
– Access resources such as templates for legislation, procurement, and contracts.
– Take advantage of available funding and technical assistance opportunities.

Workshop Agenda

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Rome Uses Real-World Scenario To Demonstrate High Impact Action

Under the leadership of Mayor Jacqueline Izzo, the City of Rome has been working steadily toward achievement of four High Impact Actions (HIA) that will allow the city to qualify for $100,000 in NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities funding. The city initially documented its success with Clean Fleets, Benchmarking and Unified Solar Permit. Chief Code Inspection Officer Mark Domenico then took an innovative approach when he agreed to tackle Energy Code Enforcement Training as a fourth HIA, working with T.Y. Lin, an independent contractor to NYSERDA.  Two teams of local design professionals were at the time seeking city building permits for a convenience store and a commercial building retrofit, respectively. Domenico drew T.Y. Lin into the review process for the two projects as a way of providing hands-on code training for both his staff and the design teams.
Following site visits, T.Y. Lin, led by Scott Copp, audited the design documents for compliance with the newly updated state energy code, which went into effect in October, 2016. Deficiencies were noted and a follow-up meeting was held to review the findings.
“It provided a great learning experience for the design professionals,” said Domenico, who also is a registered architect.  “And it was a great way to make the design community aware of T.Y. Lin’s services, which are free of charge.”
Domenico’s team experienced benefits as well.
“Code enforcement officers have a heavy burden in that they need to be knowledgeable about all aspects of the building trades,” Domenico said. “The design professional is responsible for applying the state regulations and creating documents  but our challenge is to understand the plans, in a comprehensive way and issue building permits for construction . And the new energy code makes more measures mandatory than before.”

“Many design professionals have marginalized the submitted drawing materials and are producing plans based solely on what the owner is willing to pay for rather than submitting the complete information that is required to be shown as prescribed by state law,” Domenico said.  “This makes the task of performing adequate energy code reviews very difficult and typically results in resubmissions and project delays, he noted. On an annual basis, code enforcement officers must submit to the New York Department of State confirmation of the plan review and construction of specific energy features that were included in buildings constructed the prior year.
Wider outreach to design professionals is needed, Domenico said.  Regional chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the New York State Building Officers Council (NYSBOC) are well positioned to provide it.
Mayor Izzo commented,  “I’d like to thank NYSERDA and Mohawk Valley Economic Development District (MVEDD) with their assistance to the City of Rome to help further our mission to reduce emissions and implement energy savings projects. “

Village Incorporates Energy Code Training Into ‘Goshen Goes Green’

Goshen Mayor Kyle Roddey is justifiably proud that his Orange County village (population 5,454) is on its way towards becoming a NYSERDA Clean Energy Community.

“It’s part of a comprehensive plan that we call Goshen Goes Green,” said Roddey, who has been mayor for six years. “It grew out of our 2015 visioning process. Everyone helped  – from the village engineer who wrote the electric vehicle grant application to our volunteers.”

Most recently, Village Building Inspector Ted Lewis and two Department of Public Works employees attended energy code training. Consultants went on site with them to assess the Village’s five municipal buildings and used them as the basis for training the workers in the state energy code, which was updated in October, 2016.

The four High Impact Actions (HIAs) pursued by Village of Goshen are:
1-    Energy Code Enforcement Training
2-    Benchmarking
3-    Unified Solar Permit
4-    Clean Fleets (via Electric vehicle charging stations)

Roddey plans to fund a conversion to LED street lights with a $50,000 grant the Village anticipates receiving from the Clean Energy Communities program, once they complete the four HIAs.