Joule’s Clean Energy Programs Enable 31 New York State Communities to Bring Cleaner and Cheaper Energy to Residents, Promote Local Economies, Help Meet State Climate Goals

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In 2020, Joule Assets, via Joule Community Power, launched three new community choice aggregation programs (“CCA” or “community choice”) to more than 100,000 utility account holders in twelve communities across New York State.  This brings Joule’s total to five CCAs operating in 20 NY municipalities.  Nineteen of the twenty municipalities with electricity supply contracts negotiated through Joule have selected 100% renewable energy—at a fixed rate that is lower than residents have historically paid for standard (non-renewable) supply—as default energy supply for their communities.  Joule serves as the program administer for the CCA programs and partners with local program managers to provide support, education, and outreach in the communities.  Additionally, by the end of 2020, Joule had enrolled more than 1,700 customers in community solar programs, enabling these subscribers to save up to 10% on electricity.  The community solar programs offer guaranteed electricity bill savings in the form of solar bill credits made possible through NY State incentives for clean energy generation.  As part of the community solar programs, Joule establishes municipal sustainability funds that the communities could use to finance future projects of their own choosing. Joule’s “Giving Back” program has helped communities raise more than $85,000 for local projects.

Community choice programs empower participating communities to leverage the collective buying power of residents and small businesses at large enough scale to create the buying power to negotiate better terms. CCA also provides increased consumer protection while providing residents energy options and participation flexibility. While eligible residents are automatically enrolled in community choice programs, anyone can opt out without penalty prior to launch or at any time during the contract term. Community solar programs allow utility customers to support solar energy generation and save on annual electricity costs without having to install solar panels. Historically, community solar programs have been offered on an opt in basis. During 2021, however, Joule expects to launch the first opt-out community solar program in the United States in Brockport and Lima, NY.  Joule is the only program administrator with approval from the State to integrate community solar and electricity supply in a community choice offering.

2021 OUTLOOK: HOW JOULE IS CHANGING THE ENERGY LANDSCAPE

By the end of 2021, Joule expects to launch four additional community choice aggregations in eight NY communities, including Rochester—the largest city in the State to move forward with CCA—and a first-of-kind community choice program that includes opt-out community solar in the Villages of Brockport and Lima, NY.

By combining community electricity supply and community solar, Joule has created a CCA program that saves money for residents, grows the local economy, and helps meet NY State’s climate goals. Part of Joule’s Finger Lakes Community Choice program, Joule’s first community choice program that includes opt-out community solar—and the first of its kind in the country— will be rolled out to 3,800+ households in the two upstate New York municipalities.

Lower Electricity Costs for AllThe opt-out community-level agreement ensures equal access to the benefits of community distributed generation—including electricity bill savings—to both low- and high-income households. This first-of-kind opt-out community solar program delivers participants a guaranteed 10% savings on solar credits without requiring them to sign an individual contract, undergo a credit check, pay a second bill for solar, or install solar panels on their home or property.

Attracting Local Investment, Creating Jobs
Re-localizing energy generation helps build local wealth. Solar projects distribute benefits back to individual households in the form of reliable savings, but also to communities in the form of job creation and community revenue. Jobs are created in the construction, operation, and management of the solar projects that are located in close proximity to the communities they serve. Local businesses will benefit from more and steady income flowing into the community. The projects themselves will also contribute to local revenues.

Progress Toward Achieving NY’s Clean Energy Goals
Opt-out community solar not only reduces carbon emissions, but it also moves NY State closer to achieving its clean energy goals. While benefiting communities and residents, opt-out community solar also provides significant benefits to solar project developers. Opt-out community solar effectively guarantees the solar developer all the generated electricity output will be purchased without any need to solicit interest or market to each potential individual customer. The municipal-level agreement essentially ensures that subscribers have been secured in advance, thereby fostering an environment that allows for at-scale development of solar projects throughout NY State.

Joule Gives Back
Joule has designed a community solar program that gives back to the community and enables participants who support clean energy generation to spend less on electricity. Created for communities that support the shift toward clean, locally-sourced energy, Joule’s “Giving Back” program establishes Sustainability Funds for participating municipalities. Funded through the community solar program—based on enrollment—these funds could be used to finance future local sustainability projects.  In additional to the other benefits of the first-of-kind opt out community solar program, the communities will participate in Joule’s “Giving Back” program, raising significant money for local projects of their own choosing.

“Joule is proud to have been able to work with our municipal partners throughout 2020, laying the groundwork for the expediential growth of renewable energy, as well as customer and municipal benefits in 2021, through our innovative use of opt-out solar and electricity supply,” says Jessica Stromback, Managing Director of Joule Assets.

Sue Hughes, Principal at Roctricity, Joule’s local partner providing outreach and public education to communities comprising Finger Lakes Community Choice, Gateway Community Power, Monroe Community Power, and Rochester Community Power said of Joule’s programs, “This is an easy way for people to access renewable electricity at competitive rates.  Together, we will spur the growth of renewable energy on the grid and promote a cleaner energy future.”  

Jeffrey Domanski, Executive Director of Hudson Valley Energy, Joule’s local partner in providing outreach and public education to communities comprising Hudson Valley Community Power and Rockland Community Power, said of Joule’s programs, “Many hands are needed in our work to create more sustainable communities—work that is exciting and fulfilling. Joule’s CCA and community solar programs have not only empowered individuals to access affordable, clean energy, but also have brought together dozens of communities in the Hudson Valley in their united effort to change our grid for the better.”

2020 REVIEW – OPERATING PROGRAMS

AggregationLocal PartnerParticipating
Communities
Size
(# of HHs)
$$ earned thru
Community
Solar “Giving
Back” Program
Intended Use of
“Giving Back” Funds
(if decided)
Hudson Valley
Community Power
  
Hudson Valley
Energy
City of BeaconTown of ClintonVillage of Cold SpringTown of FishkillTown of MarbletownTown of New PaltzVillage of New PaltzTown of PhilipstownCity of PoughkeepsieTown of Red Hook40,000$42,300Local Schools (Beacon) Refrigerant Management
Program
(Cold Spring & Philipstown) Local &Bike Project
(Marbletown) Rondout Valley Food Pantry
for local COVID-19 Relief
(Marbletown), The Family of
New Paltz for local COVID-19
Relief
(Town of New Paltz)
Finger Lakes
Community Choice
RoctricityTown of Geneva1,000$25,000Watershed projects
benefitting Seneca Lake
Gateway
Community Power
 
RoctricityCity of Canandaigua (electricity supply only)

Village of Victor
(electricity supply only)
4,000NANA
Monroe
Community Power
RoctricityTown of Brighton

Town of Irondequoit
(community solar only)

Town of Pittsford
(community solar only)

Village of Pittsford
(community solar only)
41,000$7,000Village Arboreum
(Village of Pittsford)
Rockland
Community Power
Hudson Valley
Energy
Town of Clarkstown
Village of Haverstraw
Village of Nyack
Town of Orangetown
Village of South Nyack
Village of Upper Nyack
55,000$16,150Rockland Community
Foundation for local
COVID-19 Relief
(Clarkstown and Orangetown)

2021 REVIEW – EXPECTED LAUNCHES

CommunityAggregationSize (#
of HHs)
Expected ProgramExpected Size of
“Giving Back” Funds
Town of
Black Brook
TBD500Community Choice Electricity
Supply and Community Solar
$50,000 per 1,000
participating accounts
Village of
Brockport
Finger Lakes
Community Choice
2,900Community Choice Electricity
Supply and Community
Choice (opt out) Solar
$50,000 per 1,000
participating accounts
Town of
Gardiner
TBD1,800Community Choice Electricity
Supply and Community Solar
$50,000 per 1,000
participating accounts
Village of
Honeoye Falls
 
Finger Lakes
Community Choice
1,000Community Choice Electricity
Supply and Community
Choice (opt out) Solar
$50,000 per 1,000
participating accounts
Village of LimaFinger Lakes
Community Choice
900Community Choice Electricity
Supply and Community
Choice (opt out) Solar
$50,000 per 1,000
participating accounts
Village of
Nelsonville
TBD200Community Choice Electricity
Supply and Community Solar
$50,000 per 1,000
participating accounts
/A
City of
Rochester
Rochester
Community Power
80,000Community Choice Electricity
Supply and Community Solar
$50,000 per 1,000
participating accounts
Town of
Southampton
Choice
Community Power
21,000TBDN/A

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