New York braces for solar fight as regulators mull monthly fees

A battle over rooftop solar panels is brewing in New York.

As regulators revamp the way utilities pay homeowners for the solar power they feed the grid, they’re mulling a monthly charge to support clean-energy and efficiency programs. It would amount to about $6 a month, but clean-energy advocates warn it could still erode solar’s fiscal advantage.

“It could fundamentally change the economics,” David Gahl, the Solar Energy Industries Association’s senior director of state affairs for the Northeast, said in an interview.

The proposal comes as new residential solar installations have already slowed for the last two years in New York, partly from uncertainty as the state revamps its electricity market. If they slow more, it could make it tougher for New York to meet Governor Andrew Cuomo’s goal to get 100% of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2040.

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