Utility-Scale Solar


The sun bathes the earth in a steady, enormous flow of radiant energy, providing a continuous supply of energy, making it the earth's most abundant source of renewable energy. There are two different approaches to harnessing energy from the sun: photovoltaic (PV) and solar-thermal technologies. ACE NY focuses on clean electricity, and thus on PV.

In New York, the solar industry has visibly grown in recent years, in large part due to state incentive policies that ACE NY has advocated for. Grid-scale solar, which flows into the grid and is sold through New York’s wholesale electricity markets, is less common in New York, largely operating on Long Island. But with the new Clean Energy Standard, grid-scale solar now has expanded market opportunities in New York and is facing a bright future.

Photovoltaics, rely on chemical reactions to generate electricity. PV cells are small, semiconductors manufactured in thin film layers from silicon and other conductive materials. When sunlight strikes a PV cell, chemical reactions release electrons, generating electric current. The small current from individual PV cells, which are installed in modules, can power individual homes and businesses (referred to as Distributed Solar) or can be plugged into the bulk electricity grid (referred to as Grid-Scale Solar).


The ultimate source of much of the world's energy is the sun, which provides the earth with light, heat, and radiation. While many technologies derive fuel from one form of solar energy or another, there are also technologies that directly transform the sun's energy into electricity.