Neighborhood solar coming to Buffalo
The Department of Public Service recently announced that the company’s Buffalo ‘Fruit Belt’ demonstration project – one of four proposals submitted to state regulators as part of the state’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative – was included in the first round of approvals.
The move allows National Grid and its partners to deploy rooftop solar panels in Buffalo’s Fruit Belt neighborhood – streets are named after various fruits – an under-served urban community immediately adjacent to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The demonstration project will seek to determine the market and methods for increasing rooftop solar penetration, along with energy efficiency adoption in communities that could potentially be under-served by third-party market participants.
Once determined, specific timelines and eligibility criteria will be communicated through direct outreach to potential participants and other stakeholders in the community.
“We’re viewing these initial REV projects as first of a kind, not one of a kind,” said Dennis Elsenbeck, who is leading Buffalo’s neighborhood solar and distributed system platform demonstration projects as part of the company’s recently formed New Energy Solutions team. “As we take the first steps to bring neighborhood solar to Buffalo, our aim is to maintain a transparent process, one that keeps everyone – from customers to key stakeholders and third-party marketers – informed and engaged throughout.”
The project will also enable us to test renewable energy’s effectiveness and investment impact on efficient future distribution system design, said Dennis.
As a next step, we will work with regulators to further develop and refine three remaining proposals, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Distributed System Platform project, the Potsdam Resiliency Microgrid project, and the Clifton Park Customer Convenience Smart Grid project. State regulators have noted that the company’s remaining proposals represent potential, relevant and innovative demonstration projects.