CNY Regional Planning and Development Board


This page provides the latest resources and information available to help governments expand their local solar markets, and brings to light the many local initiatives that are already underway. Through the VisionCNY Regional Sustainability Plan, Central New York has established a target of increasing renewable energy deployment ten-fold by 2030 to meet 25% of the region's demand. Solar energy will be an important part of the region's future energy supply and critical to meeting the region's renewable energy target. The region is well positioned for explosive solar market growth due to a suite of aggressive renewable energy goals and supportive policies.

Transitioning to solar power not only provides environmental benefits like enhanced air quality, but it also delivers a host of economic benefits from green job creation to market development. By bringing together various local stakeholders, Solar Roadmap participants can work together to easily implement innovative programs in their communities. 

Regional Solar Initiative - Collaborative Procurement

A major collaborative solar project is underway in Central New York. The initiative, which focuses on finding and developing viable solar projects on public agency facilities across the five counties, will allow municipalities to go solar with greatly reduced transaction costs and administrative time. Participants include the Cayuga County and the city of Auburn, the City of Cortland, the City of Oswego and the Town of DeWitt with support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to ensure maximum regional benefits from the project.

Initiative Timeline: The initiative began in September 2014 and will have quarterly checkpoints on progress and reports to regional stakeholders.  Based on available resources and participant engagement, on-the-ground project construction could start as early as mid-2016.


Ideal Timing For Regional Solar Project Success:

  • Solar incentives for larger projects are at peak levels under the new MW Block program
  • Federal tax credits and depreciation benefits are scheduled to ramp-down by the end of 2016
  • Solar project costs are at an all-time low statewide
  • Various cost-effective financing options are available for the public sector
  • NYSERDA and DOE funding has been provided to reduce costs for participants 

Regional Solar Initiative - Rooftop Solar Challenge

The main objective of the Rooftop Solar Challenge is to help facilitate the standardization of solar processes across municipalities and, ultimately, entire regions. These efforts help reduce adminstrative time and costs for both government staff and solar contractors. Communities across the regional have joined this effort and are taking action.

  • Simplifying solar permitting – The New York State Cleaner, Greener Communities program offers cash incentives of $2500 to $5000 for adopting the NYS Unified Solar Permit for small PV installations. Over 30 municipal representatives attended the CNY RPDB’s workshop on November 21 at SUNY-ESF to learn about this program, and (2+?) local communities have already adopted the form including the City of Oswego and the Town of Lenox. Deadline to apply is September 30, 2015 or until funds are exhausted. 
  • Solarize Syracuse – A residential group purchase campaign is being conducted in the greater Syracuse area including the City of Syracuse, Town of DeWitt, Town of Manlius and Town of Onondaga (and the villages within). In the first four months of the campaign, the Solarize Syracuse campaign has more than doubled the amount of residential solar in the target area, adding 74 solar systems and more than 516 kW of new solar capacity.
  • Additional highlights - The CNY Regional Planning and Development Board has established a Regional Solar Advisory Committee (RSAC) comprised of public and private sector representatives from local government, utilities, higher education and other stakeholders. The RSAC meets bi-monthly to discuss the state of the regional solar market, and opportunities to increase deplyment of solar energy in the region. If you would like to participate or join the RSAC, please contact Chris Carrick at
  • Solar Roadmap Participants – These communities are taking the extra step by joining the Solar Roadmap to consolidate their solar-related efforts and receive direct technical assistance to Take Action:

City of Auburn

Town of Cazenovia

Village of Cazenovia

Town of DeWitt

Village of Fayetteville

Village of Hamilton

City of Oneida

City of Oswego

Town of Skaneateles

Village of Skaneateles

City of Syracuse

 The CNY Regional Planning and Development Board is collecting information from local munipalities to establish a baseline on the state of the solar market in the region. We encourage you to download the survey here, and complete and submit to Chris Carrick at 


Partner Spotlight

The Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board (CNY RPDB) is an invaluable partner that brings area leaders together to address major regional issues in the Region. CNY RPDB is collaborating with Optony and MARC to help local jurisdictions implement solar best practices in their communities and install solar on municipal facilities. 

  • The NY-Sun Initiative brings together and expands existing programs administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), PSEG Long Island, and the New York Power Authority (NYPA), to ensure a coordinated, well-funded solar energy expansion plan.
  • The NYSolar Smart plan is a strategic effort led by the City University of New York (CUNY) that supports both Federal and the State solar initiatives and works in partnership with NYPA, NYSERDA, municipalities around the state, and more than 30 organizations representing utility companies, installers, government agencies and industry leaders. The effort is implementing solutions to lower the soft costs of installing solar across New York State.
  • Legislative updates including solar incentives and statewide regulation and policy updates can be found on the DSIRE website.