National Grid joins organizations from 167 countries to sign the Paris Climate Accord, the company also marks its new, innovative partnership with solar industry leaders and other New York electric utilities that encourages more renewable energy across the state.

The proposal would ensure a reasonable cost for customers, and the safety and reliability of the electricity grid.

"National Grid is committed to the goals of the Paris Climate Accord, and one important way to achieve them is through supporting the continued growth of renewable energy," said Ken Daly, National Grid’s New York president. "Earth Day reminds us of the importance of renewable energy and projects that promote sustainability and environmental stewardship in the communities we serve."

Daly, a panelist at this week’s Advanced Energy Conference in New York City, also applauded Governor Cuomo’s announcement of $150 million in funding to support large-scale renewable energy projects across the state.

"This funding supports our Solar Progress Partnership objectives and will help facilitate public-private initiatives to develop large-scale renewable energy projects across New York. National Grid believes utility-owned large-scale renewable generation is the best way to advance clean energy for the environment and hold down costs for customers," Daly said. "Large-scale renewables and other distributed energy resources are essential to achieving National Grid’s clean energy goals as well as New York’s target of 50 percent renewables by 2030."

National Grid’s Commitment to Solar

Thanks to federal and state incentives and utility support, solar is growing rapidly in upstate New York. Over the last five years, National Grid has connected more than 10,000 renewable projects totaling 200 megawatts, enough electricity for 35,000 homes. The company connected more renewables in 2015 than in the previous 12 years combined.

National Grid also is working in collaboration with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus and community leaders on a REV demonstration project to develop and integrate neighborhood solar options in a residential area immediately adjacent to the medical campus. The demonstration will determine the best ways to increase solar penetration and energy efficiency adoption in communities that could potentially be underserved by third-party market participants.

A New, Innovative Solar Progress Partnership

Earlier this week, National Grid, as a member of the Solar Progress Partnership, submitted a proposal to regulators that would enhance the state’s current net metering policy for solar customers and encourage further development of clean energy projects. The proposal marks a significant step forward in promoting clean, renewable energy in New York.

"We are pleased to play a leadership role in developing innovative approaches that enable New York to achieve its goal for renewable energy, while equitably managing cost impacts to customers," Daly said. "We appreciate the efforts of the utilities and solar companies involved and look forward to developing effective solutions for a cleaner, greener energy future."

Net metering is a process that allows customer-owned renewable generation to be connected to the electricity grid and provides a bill credit to system owners for any electricity they add to the grid.

If approved, the proposal would have community solar customers receive full retail net metering credits that would be partially paid by developers. It would allow net metering to continue for individual homes and businesses and have solar farms and other large installations pay a fee to the utility for electricity grid maintenance. The fee would help lessen cost-shifting to non-solar users.

Over time, the fee would be based on a formula that includes the wholesale power rates, transmission costs, the relief it provides to the electricity grid, and the environmental or societal benefit it provides.

In addition to National Grid, members of the Solar Progress Partnership include SolarCity, SunEdison, and SunPower Corp., as well as Consolidated Edison, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, New York State Electric & Gas Corp., Rochester Gas and Electric, Orange and Rockland Utilities.