NY Expands Incentives for Upgrading Buildings in Light of COVID-19


While the COVID-19 crisis continues to inject uncertainty into the real estate industry and the economy at large, a number of expanded incentive programs make this a good time to implement energy-saving upgrades to your buildings. New York policymakers remain more committed than ever to achieving energy and carbon reduction goals and have modified incentive programs to encourage building owners to make improvements during this challenging time. 

New York’s clean energy incentive program implementers recognize the immense challenges facing the real estate industry. Many programs now offer earlier incentive payments, multi-month extensions, and even increased dollar amounts to ensure that building owners, operators, and residents can reap the benefits of cleaner and more efficient energy equipment. Incentive offerings vary by program and project type, but several programs can now cover up to 70% of the cost of your energy improvements!

However, the increased funding is likely to be subscribed quickly, and many program modifications may only be available for a limited time.

In addition to higher incentive amounts and faster payments, regulators have integrated robust safety protocols and administrative flexibility into all incentive programs statewide. This enables projects to be completed on time while also protecting residents. New York State Department of Health issued over 30 new on-site safety guidelines for contractors that all incentive programs and their partners are required to follow. Those guidelines include a mandate to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), maintain strict social distancing on-site, and post signage in common areas denoting six-foot spacing.

In early March, the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) launched an unprecedented initiative to preempt the pandemic’s impacts and implement crucial modifications to nearly a dozen programs.

The Multifamily Performance Program (MPP) doubled modeling incentives that are paid before any work begins to $200/unit and can offer up to $75,000 for an energy audit even if the project does not complete construction. In addition, all MPP projects now qualify to receive a portion of the construction incentive early (halfway through construction), a benefit that was once reserved for projects using a construction manager to oversee installation. The program is also conducting remote inspections to reduce resident exposure to inspectors.

NY-Sun increased solar incentives for affordable housing, allowing many qualifying properties to remain eligible for $1/W. Now they will receive that incentive for the first 200 kW of eligible capacity instead of just the first 50 kW. The program also offers extensions for all deliverables and will pay 50% of the total incentive to projects that had materials on site before April 1st. 

In addition to reworking existing programs, NYSERDA and the investor-owned utilities are hard at work rolling out new programs during the virus.

The Clean Heat Program is one such offering that will support electrification projects across New York state. The program offers up to 70% of the project cost for heat pump space and water heating for both multifamily and commercial properties. ConEdison has over $227.3 million budgeted through 2025, and they need to spend over $18 million this year alone!

Incentive program offerings can change rapidly, and some of the modifications will only be available for a limited time. Please reach out to your Bright Power Account Manager or contact us to discuss how these changes may affect your projects.

Bright Power will continue to monitor all programs and work closely with policymakers to address the challenges our partners face in a safe and responsible manner. 

You can read about the precautions we’re already taking to keep your residents safe, and we will continue to update you here as we learn more.