Author Archives: Courtney Strong

$30 million available for regional economic development projects

Summer 2013

Mid-Hudson/Westchester Insights

Connecting Energy Savings & Economic Development

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Learn How To Access NYS Funds at Workshops Around the Hudson Valley

This round of the New York State Comprehensive Funding Application — due at 4 pm on August 12 — offers $750 million from 13 state agencies and 26 programs to support regional economic development priorities and spur job creation across the state. More than $80 million is available for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainability planning and implementation projects. CFA Workshops will be held in the Mid-Hudson Region in the following locations:

July 10     6:30 PM – 9:00 PM     Mt. Saint Mary College, Aquinas Hall, Newburgh

July 11      6:30 PM – 9:00 PM      Dutchess County Community College, Poughkeepsie

See NYS Regional Economic Development Councils for instructions on completing a CFA, as well as a detailed list of program funding and other resources. Your local NYSERDA Regional Outreach Coordinators, at left, are available to assist with energy (heating, lighting, cooling) related CFAs.

NYSERDA to Provide $30 million for Cleaner Greener Communities

Municipalities and other interested groups have only a few weeks left to apply for $30 million of funding from NYSERDA under the Cleaner, Greener Communities Program (CGC). The funding is intended to promote sustainability planning and project implementation.

In 2011, Governor Andrew Cuomo formed a Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) in each of 10 regions, charged with creating strategic plans to promote job growth. These plans, updated yearly, take into account local strengths and weaknesses. To streamline regional economic development, the REDCs were made the center of a one-stop system for state grants and incentives known as the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA).

Much of NYSERDA’s program funding is available through CFA submissions for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Phase I of the CGC provided $10 million in 2012 to the 10 REDC regions to produce Regional Sustainability Plans, which are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating more resilient, sustainable communities. Phase II, which started in June via Program Opportunity Notice (PON) 2721, offers funding to support each region’s sustainability goals.

Phase II funding has three categories. Categories 1 and 2 are for municipalities. Category 1 offers $1 million to support adoption of streamlined permitting for photovoltaic systems and electric vehicle charging stations. Category 2 provides $4 million for communities to create or revise comprehensive plans, including updating zoning ordinances and addressing sustainability and resiliency. Category 3 is available to any public, private, or non-profit entity – or partnership – to fund large-scale, high-impact sustainability projects that produce immediate and long-lasting greenhouse gas emissions reductions and climate resiliency.

Category 1 proposals are accepted through open enrollment CFA through September 2014. Competitive Category 2 and 3 proposals are due August 12, 2013. The CGC program is funded by Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) proceeds, which means applicants don’t have to be paying into the System Benefits Charge (SBC) to take advantage of these opportunities.

Case Study: Emanuel Lutheran Church Goes Solar

 A faith community describes its decision to invest in solar energy.


emanuel_lutheran_solarEmanuel Lutheran Church in Pleasantville sought out NYSERDA‘s Small Commercial Energy Assessments contractor to perform an energy audit of its building. NYSERDA provides free energy assessments to small businesses and not-for-profits with an electric demand of 100kW or less to help them make informed electrical energy decisions and implement energy-efficiency strategies. The Church’s annual consumption at the time was 27,680 kWh and its total bill for the year was $5,272. Aside from assessing their energy consumption, Daylight Savings, the contractor, recommended that the church:

– Upgrade the lighting

– Install lighting controls

– Improve the building envelope

– Upgrade the HVAC

– Install an Energy Management System

The congregation’s Environmental Stewardship Committee, chaired by Gerry Falco, President of New York Interfaith Power and Light, agreed to insulate the windows and upgrade their lighting. After improving the overall building’s efficiency, Emanuel Lutheran Church set their sites on solar. With incentives from NYSERDA, the church hired Mercury Solar Systems, a NYSERDA eligible installer, to install a 23kW photovoltaic system consisting of 134 Suntech STP-175 panels and 3 Fronius inverters (5, 7.5, and 10kW respectively). As part of NYSERDA‘s program, the technical details such as submitting drawings and obtaining permits, were handled by the installer.

Three years later, the Emanuel Lutheran Church now stands as a leader of environmental stewardship in the community. The church runs almost entirely on solar power. Last month’s electric energy bill was $15.The congregation is now in the process of applying for an energy assessment of their parsonage and their success has persuaded three congregants to install solar panels in their homes.

About Courtney Strong Inc.: Courtney Strong Inc. provides outreach and education services on behalf of clients who are leading the transition to a clean energy economy. CSI supports the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), with emphasis on its Economic Development Growth Extension (EDGE) program. EDGE helps New Yorkers access funding and technical assistance from NYSERDA for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

About NYSERDA: New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs.

Solar Power Purchase Agreements Webinar

Solar Power Purchase Agreements Webinar

Broadcast on Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Thank you to all our presenters and attendees who made this webinar informative, interactive, and relevant to so many.  We have provided the slides (in PDF format) from all our presenters, below, for your reference.

Please contact Erika Maher with further questions or comments; we would love to hear feedback on your experience with the webinar.


Jason Coughlin (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) – presentation

Thomas Polich (TAP Renewable Energy Solutions) – presentation

Carol Dollard (Colorado State University) – split presentation below:

Slides 1-4

Slides 5-7

Slides 8-10

Henry Labalme (Tioga Energy) – split presentation below:

First half

Second half


Thank you for your interest in our recent webinar on solar power purchase agreements (PPAs).  Our panelists included several experts on various aspects of PPAs from both public and private institutions.

Facility owners and managers across New York State are reporting a sharp uptick in inquiries from companies seeking to offer them Solar Power Purchase Agreements. Questions abound, and many institutions and local governments are seeking a better understanding of this opportunity. On April 24, 2012, we hosted a webinar to hear from a panel of experts on the key information you need to know before entering into a PPA for your facility.

Our experts discussed:

•   Key differences: Solar PPAs vs. leases

•   How PPAs can overcome many of the traditional barriers to solar adoption

•   The benefits and challenges of a PPA to the host customer

•   The PPA model’s impact on the solar market

•   Who is doing PPAs and why

•   Ideal host customer characteristics

•   The steps necessary for a successful PPA


Solar Power Purchase Agreement Webinar Panelists:

Carol Dollard
Carol Dollard is a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of Colorado and LEED Accredited Professional, and a Utility Engineer and Adjunct Professor in the Construction Management Department at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.  She works on the design, construction and maintenance of the campus utility systems, and with design teams to implement green buildings on campus.  She also leads the team that implements the campus energy efficiency program and has been a part of bringing more than 5,500 kW of alternative energy projects to Colorado State.  Prior to her career at CSU, Ms. Dollard worked for the City of Fort Collins Utilities department as an Energy Services Engineer, Implementing energy and customer service programs for industrial & commercial customers.  While working for Fort Collins, she negotiated the wind power agreement between New Belgium Brewing Company and the City to make them the first 100% wind powered brewery in the nation.  In her 30-year career, she has amassed extensive experience in conducting commercial and industrialenergy audits; designing, implementing, and marketing demand-side management programs; creating educational materials for and responding to customer inquiries regarding energy usage and conservation; managing accounts for large electric customers; performing technical and economic analysis of efficiency options; and acting as Project Engineer on a variety of solar and energy conservation research projects.”

Colorado State University is internationally known for its green initiatives and clean-energy research including alternative fuels, clean engines, photovoltaics, “smart” grid technology, wind engineering, water resources, and satellite-based atmospheric monitoring and tracking systems. It’s also known as a “green” university for its sustainability efforts on campus and abroad.”

Henry Labalme

Henry Labalme is head of East Coast sales for Tioga Energy.  With Tioga since its earliest days, Mr. Labalme led the company’s entry into the East Coast state markets and was responsible for Tioga’s first solar PPA projects in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, including the bond-financed regional solar programs for New Jersey’s Morris and Union counties.  Presently, he assists with a wide range of initiatives including new market development, multi-state strategic sales and solar policy.  Possessing more than 20 years of experience in business development, project management and consulting, Mr. Labalme began his career with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, an agency that provides political risk insurance and project financing for U.S. companies investing in developing countries. Later, Mr. Labalme managed business development efforts in Latin American for Ecology & Environment, Inc., a leading environmental engineering and consulting firm. Prior to joining Tioga, Mr. Labalme was a principal with Climate Change Partners, a greenhouse gas risk management firm, where he identified and analyzed investment opportunities in the clean energy sector for a new $250 million equity fund. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Middlebury College and a degree in the General Course from the London School of Economics.

Tioga Energy is one of the nation’s largest and most experienced power purchase agreement (PPA) providers, with more than 100 commercial-scale projects in operation or under construction across the United States. Through its SurePath Solar PPA, Tioga provides organizations an efficient solution for deriving the economic and environmental benefits of solar without the cost or complexity of ownership.

Thomas Polich

Thomas Polich has over 17 years of working experience in the photovoltaic (PV) industry covering all aspects of the solar industry. His solar experience includes research and development, technology development, manufacturing, legal, finance, training and consulting, product distribution, project development and installation, system management, system design and integration, market development and sales management. He currently serves as GC/Secretary for Brightergy Solar Solutions, and was previously CAO/General Counsel/Secretary, Genesis Renewable Energy, Inc., a solar developer, installer, construction and maintenance company with a team history of over 150 MW of projects installed, both roof-top and ground-mounted. Previously, he served as COO, TurtleEnergy, Inc. an integrator developer with 40+ systems installed primarily in NJ and Solar Energy Initiatives, Inc. (OTC BB:SNRY), a company with multiple business lines, including a distributor network in 24 states, 2 training academies (for professionals and installers), government contracts and grants programs, and special projects (RT and GB up to 1 MW). Prior to that, he was VP North American Development of Clairvoyant Energy, Inc. and has also served as Chief Administrative Officer of Skypoint Solar, Inc., Chief Legal Officer/Acting Treasurer of DayStar Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ/DSTI) and Corporate Counsel for Evergreen Resources, Inc. (NYSE:EVG). Mr. Polich earned a J.D. from the University of Denver, College of Law and has a B.A. Environmental Conservation from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Jason Coughlin

At the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Jason Coughlin focuses on the financial aspects of installing PV systems, particularly in the public sector. From 2009-2011, he managed NREL’s technical assistance outreach for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar America Cities Program and provided direct technical advisory services relating to financing solar on municipal buildings for dozens of major US cities. Currently, Mr. Coughlin is focused on community solar, tax-equity-based solar project finance and research into potential alternative financing mechanisms for solar such as asset securitization and REITs.

A former corporate finance banker and Peace Corps volunteer, Mr. Coughlin has an undergraduate business degree from SUNY-Binghamton, a Master’s degree in international business from the University of South Carolina, and a graduate certificate in Environmental Policy from the University of Denver.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the only national laboratory solely dedicated to advancing renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies from concept to commercial application. For 35 years, NREL innovations, analysis, and expertise have enabled the emergence of a U.S. clean energy industry and led to numerous success stories from across the laboratory.