New York State Solar Incentives: Your 2017 Guide to Saving Money

When it comes to green energy options in New York, solar is one of the best you can choose. It’s clean, long-lasting, accessible and, thanks to New York state solar incentives, affordable. In fact, according to New York’s 2017 solar report card, this state is the number one state to go solar.

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has established a $1 billion incentive program to encourage more residential and commercial solar installations. So far, the plan has worked – from 2011 to 2014, New York solar grew by more than 300%, double the average US solar growth rate.

Learn what lucrative New York state solar incentives are available to Rockland and Orange County residents like you.

Federal Income Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency

  • How to qualify: First and foremost is the federal tax credit available for every qualifying installation in the US. Whether you want to install solar panels on a new or existing residence, you can qualify for this incentive if you own the home. Both primary dwellings and secondary vacation homes qualify.
  • How much you can save: The federal government offers an income tax credit totaling 30% of the purchase and installation cost. A recent announcement has extended the availability of these federal tax credits from December of this year to December 2019. After that, the credit will decrease to 26% through 2020, decrease again to 22% through 2021, and completely expire in December 2021.

New York Solar Tax Credits

  • How to qualify: Solar panels, solar space heaters and solar water heaters all qualify for this incentive. Solar arrays up to 25 kilowatts (kW) qualify, which means the average 5kW residential installation certainly fits the requirements. Systems purchased outright, leased or under a power purchase agreement (PPA) all qualify, though installations used for pool heating and other recreational applications do not.
  • How much you can save: Residents of the state can file New York tax form IT-255 to claim a 25% tax credit with an upper limit of $5,000. This incentive has been amended several times since it was first introduced in 1997, but as of now, it has no expiration date.

Cash Rebate Program

  • How to qualify: The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) currently grants incentives for commercial, residential, industrial and institutional solar installations. Your solar array must be grid tied and 25kW or less to qualify. If you earn 80% or less of your county’s median income, you may qualify for even higher New York state solar incentives through the Affordable Solar program.
  • How much you can save: The NYSERDA currently offers a $0.70 rebate per watt, which equals $3,500 for a typical 5kW array. If you meet the required income limits for your county, your rebate amount doubles to $7,000 for a typical solar installation. Be aware – as time goes by and the NYSERDA’s $762 million budget is paid out, rebate amounts will drop. Act fast to enjoy the largest rebate possible.

Sales Tax Exemption

  • How to qualify: Both residential and non-residential solar arrays are exempt from New York sales tax. Lease payments and electricity sales through net metering are also exempt.
  • How much you can save: Normally, any purchase you make in New York comes with sales tax, which can be as high as 8.875%, depending on the local municipality where you make your purchase. This solar incentive makes your purchase 100% exempt from sales tax.

Property Tax Exemption

  • How to qualify: Residential properties ranging in size from single-family homes to four-family dwellings qualify for this New York state solar incentive. The exemption also applies to solar water heaters, wind, biomass and geothermal heat pumps.
  • How much you can save: Normally, when you add improvements, your home value goes up – and so do your property taxes. This exemption means your property taxes won’t increase for the next 15 years due to the boosted home value resulting from your solar installation.

Net Metering

  • How to qualify: 25kW or smaller solar arrays, wind turbines, fuel cells and micro turbines all qualify for net metering. This gives you the opportunity to sell excess electricity back to the grid for a credit on your next month’s energy bills. If you prefer, you can opt for an annual payout.
  • How much you can save: The benefits of net metering vary wildly. The amount you save depends on the size of your solar array relative to your energy consumption. Oversized solar installations are more likely to produce excess energy than an array sized to more accurately meet your energy needs.

It’s exciting to know you can save so much with New York state solar incentives! To prevent feeling overwhelmed, be sure to work with a solar installer that can apply for these New York state solar incentives.