Central New York Regional Planning & Development Board
Paul W. Pinckney, ChairmanDavid V. Bottar, Executive Director  

Energy Management

The primary goal of the Central New York Regional Planning & Development Board's Energy Management program is to maximize the regionís energy resources by increasing the efficiency of residential and commercial buildings, curtailing energy demand, increasing the use of renewable energy, and accelerating the deployment of advanced energy technologies.

Staff is actively engaged in energy planning and project development throughout the region and provides a range of technical assistance services, grant, and financial resources. The CNY RPDB has coordinated multiple project initiatives in partnership with federal and state agencies including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (Climate Showcase Communities Program), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Rural Business Enterprise Grant Program), the U.S. Department of Energy (SunShot Initiative), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (Climate Smart Communities Program), and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (Clean Energy Communities Program).

Solar Energy

Skaneateles Village Hall Solar installation
Installation of a 62 kW solar array on the Skaneateles Village Hall in 2013 with assistance provided by CNY RPDB.

The CNY RPDB provides many services to municipalities to assist in the development of solar energy resources including collaborative procurement programs for municipalities and the community that reduce equipment and administrative costs and technical assistance for the development of solar permitting and zoning codes and ordinances.


The SolarizeCNY program for municipal governments has aggregated more than 20 municipalities to work together within a common approach that streamlines the development process and achieves economies of scale to reduce project costs. With a focus on municipal and brownfield properties, this approach will drive development towards adaptive reuse of landfills and other underutilized and derelict sites, doubling the amount of installed solar PV capacity in the region while increasing local economic activity, generating municipal revenue and energy costs savings, while improving the regionís environment.

  • The community Solarize program administered by the CNY RPDB has provided more than 1,500 solar assessments of homes and businesses throughout the region and resulted in the installation of 350 solar PV systems with $1.5 million in cost savings through bulk purchase discounts.
  • The CNY RPDB has assisted about 75 municipalities in CNY to adopt the NYS Unified Solar Permit, creating a uniform permitting process across the region which has helped to reduce paperwork and administrative costs.

NYSERDA Clean Energy Communities

Village of Marcellus offices LED-lighting upgrade
Indoor LED lighting in the Marcellus Village Hall. The Village received credit for the Clean Energy Upgrades High Impact Action by converting indoor lighting to LED and achieving a 10% emissions reduction in municipal buildings. (April 2017)

The Clean Energy Communities (CEC) Program provides grants, technical assistance and recognition to local governments to save money, foster a vibrant economy, and improve the environment. The CNY RPDB has been designated as CEC Coordinator for the CNY region to assist municipalities in completing high-impact actions identified by NYSERDA. By completing four of the high-impact actions, municipalities can earn the Clean Energy Community designation and become eligible for grant funding to support clean energy projects. Completing high-impact actions can also qualify municipalities for point-based grants or action grants. For information regarding the high-impact action items, designated CECs, and grants available, visit cnyenergychallenge.org/clean-energy-communities.

CNY Bright Lights Municipal

LED streetlights being installed in the Village of Minoa
Crews converting streetlights to LED in the Village of Minoa. (January 2017)

The CNY RPDB assists municipalities in converting streetlights to light emitting diode (LED) technology, which can significantly reduce electricity consumption and costs compared to traditional lighting. Through this initiative, the CNY RPDB provides technical assistance to municipalities to evaluate whether to purchase lighting assets from the utility or to maintain utility ownership as part of the conversion process. The CNY RPDB will also help municipalities to identify funding or financing opportunities. For information regarding the services that the CNY RPDB can provide and cumulative energy and cost savings realized by municipalities across the region, please visit cnyenergychallenge.org/cny-bright-lights.

Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations

Town of DeWitt ribbon-cutting at new EV charging station
Town of DeWitt ribbon-cutting at new EV charging station in October 2018. The town has installed three Level 2 stations at its office and Ryder Park complex with grant funding from NYSERDA and technical assistance from the CNY RPDB.

The CNY RPDB prepared the Central New York EV Charging Station Plan which identified strategic locations for the installation of Level 2 charging stations which facilitate the use of electric vehicles for travel within the region. The CNY RPDB also provides assistance to municipalities and other interested stakeholders to purchase electric vehicles and to install electric-vehicle charging stations, including identification and selection of qualified contractors and guidance on vehicle selection, locations for charging stations, and funding opportunities. For more information on electric vehicles and charging stations, visit cnyenergychallenge.org/electric-vehicles.

Open C-PACE Financing

NYSERDA Treasurer and CFO announce a $10 million C-PACE loan to the Marriott Downtown Syracuse
NYSERDA Treasurer and CFO announces a $10 million C-PACE loan to the Marriott Downtown Syracuse for energy-efficiency upgrades at the hotel. Left to right: Assembly member Bill Magnarelli, Hotel owner Ed Riley, Common Councilor Joe Driscoll, CNY RPDB Energy Program Manager Chris Carrick, Mayor Ben Walsh, and Jeff Pitkin, NYSERDA Treasurer and CFO. (March 9, 2020)

The CNY RPDB provides assistance for municipalities to enable Open C-PACE Financing, a program offered through the Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC) which helps commercial building owners to make energy-efficiency and renewable-energy upgrades. EIC Open C-PACE provides numerous advantages as an alternative to traditional loans including:

  • customizable loan terms up to the expected life of the improvement;
  • competitive private financing from EIC-approved capital providers;
  • loans for up to 100% of the project cost;
  • repayment secured through a benefit assessment lien on the property that is subordinate to municipal taxes; and
  • financing that automatically transfers to a new owner if the property is sold.

New as of 2019, EIC has improved the Open C-PACE program to making it easier to administer with minimal financial risks to the municipality. More information can be found at the Open C-PACE webpage.

HeatSmart CNY

HeatSmart CNY is a community-outreach and education campaign which aims to improve the efficiency of heating and cooling homes and businesses through air sealing, insulation, and the installation of ground-source and air-source heat pumps. The campaign builds on the successes of the SolarizeCNY campaign and is administered in partnership with the Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) and a team of volunteer experts. HeatSmart CNY is supported by NYSERDAís Clean Heating and Cooling Communities program and includes funding for workforce development, incentives for low-to-moderate income households, and a demonstration geothermal project for affordable multifamily housing.

Research and Planning

The CNY RPDB played the lead role in preparing the VisionCNY Regional Sustainability Plan in 2013 under the auspices of NYSERDAís Cleaner, Greener Communities Program and has assisted more than a dozen municipalities to complete their own local energy plans. Staff has assisted several dozen communities across the region to achieve designation as a Climate Smart Community and/or Clean Energy Community by NYS DEC and NYSERDA, and has actively supported other local planning efforts including the City of Syracuse Sustainability Plan.

Central New York Regional Planning & Development Board, 100 Clinton Square, Suite 200,  126 North Salina St., Syracuse, NY  13202
phone: (315) 422-8276      fax: (315) 422-9051      mail @ cnyrpdb.org