Rochester, NY to launch state’s largest solar community choice aggregation program

This kind of choice is what we hope to bring to Colorado communities with Community Choice Energy (CCE), soon to be under study by the Colorado PUC under HB21-1269 thanks to Rep Edie Hooton’s tenacity last session!

Rochester Community Power plans to provide 300 million kWh annually to 57,000 Rochester residents and small businesses, with a community solar opt-out program expected to launch in early 2022.

SEPTEMBER 15, 2021 

TIM SYLVIA, PV Magazine

The city of Rochester, New York, activated its community choice clean energy program, Rochester Community Power, becoming the largest municipality in New York State to launch a community choice aggregation (CCA) program.

Rochester Community Power will now automatically enroll 57,000 Rochester residents and small businesses into the program, providing them with guaranteed savings on their electric bills from a community solar installation, rather than installing solar panels on their home or property. Participants are free to opt-out and leave the program at any time.

As with the opt-out community choice solar programs in the New York villages of Brockport and Lima, Joule Assets served as the program administrator and managed the competitive bidding process to secure a fixed rate for the next 24 months. This protects residents and businesses from volatile market prices. Joule is currently the sole program administrator with approval from New York State to integrate community solar and electricity supply in a community choice offering.

Like Brockport and Lima, Rochester has committed to starting its own opt-out community choice solar program, which is expected to launch in early 2022. According to Joule, once the opt-out community choice solar program is live, Rochester will be used as a benchmark example for other municipalities looking to leverage their buying power and provide their residents and businesses access to guaranteed electricity bill savings.

As of now, it has not been shared how many community solar projects will be needed to feed Rochester’s expected demand. In Brockport and Lima, six community solar farms will supply more than 3,800 households and small businesses with roughly 28 million kWh of electricity annually for the next 25 years. Rochester Community Power is set to supply customers with more than 300 million kWh of renewable energy each year, and that figure doesn’t include the upcoming opt-out program.

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