If you live in New York, you have some of the best opportunities in the country to go solar. From tax credits and net metering to sales tax and property tax exemptions, switching to solar requires a smaller investment than you might realize.
New York residents can also take advantage of cash rebates from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). These rebates are available through a program called NY-Sun Initiative, which was established in 2012 by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to incentivize solar installations across New York.
NYSERDA cash rebates are one of the incentives you have access to through this program. The rebates you receive depend on the size of your solar installation, your income and how quickly you act. Here’s what you need to know about these rebates and how to ensure you’re eligible.
NYSERDA Cash Rebates
In 2014, Governor Cuomo re-launched NY-Sun with a renewed budget to help encourage New York homeowners and business owners to go solar. The ultimate goal is to install 3.175 gigawatts (GW) of solar panels by 2023, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and making solar a viable option for more New Yorkers in the process.
The $762 million budget has already started draining just two years into the cash rebate program, which will continue to be available through 2023. Even before the program expires, NYSERDA cash rebates will decrease over time as the budget is depleted and solar installation goals are met.
As of spring 2016, the average residential solar installation qualifies for a rebate of $0.40 per watt. Considering that the average residential solar array is 5 kilowatts (kW) – or 5,000 watts – you can potentially qualify for $2,000 in NYSERDA cash rebates. The amount may be even higher if you install a larger array; those up to 25 kW or 110% of the building’s energy needs qualify.
Be aware that the current NYSERDA cash rebate rates are expected to decrease sometime in 2016, so the sooner you go solar, the more rebates you receive.
Bonus Rebates Based on Income
In October 2015, NYSERDA updated the cash rebate program to include additional incentives for low- to moderate-income households. If you earn less than 80% of your county’s median income, you can qualify for double the NYSERDA cash rebates – or $1.40 per watt – up to 6 kW. This allows qualifying families to receive up to $8,400 in solar rebates!
To check your eligibility, visit the NYSERDA website. There, click on your county and check the income limits. For example, if you live in Rockland County with your partner and two kids, your four-person household qualifies for bonus rebates if you earn less than $79,040 per year.
How to Ensure Your Eligibility
Clearly, you don’t want to miss out on these lucrative NYSERDA cash rebates! To make sure your solar array is eligible, follow these steps.
Plan a Qualifying Solar Installation
Most residential solar arrays qualify for NYSERDA cash rebates. You must simply install a system smaller than 25 kW that doesn’t exceed 110% of your home’s demonstrated energy needs. Since most residential installations are around 5 kW, meeting the size requirement is easy. Then you simply need to calculate your home’s energy consumption to ensure the array doesn’t exceed the 110% limit.
Be aware that many types of non-residential solar installations also qualify for NYSERDA cash rebates. These include commercial, industrial, educational, government and non-profit installations. These must be 200 kW or less and also can’t exceed 110% of the building’s energy needs.
Hire a Participating Installer
It’s not enough to have a qualifying solar array; the installation must also be performed by a participating solar company. Each installer’s eligibility is determined by their level of training, installation experience, credentials, track record, customer satisfaction and overall performance.
There’s no shortage of qualifying solar installers in Rockland and Orange County. If you feel overwhelmed by the selection, look for a company with these important characteristics:
- Quality solar panels: Not all brands are created equal, so research different solar panels and decide the type you want to install.
- Exemplary credentials: Companies with certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) and other similar credentials have proven their ability to deliver quality installations time and again.
- Flexible payment options: Whether you prefer to purchase your panels upfront, take out a loan or lease your solar panels, make sure you find an installer that meets your needs.
- Good recommendations: Ask friends and neighbors with solar panels who they worked with. Then hop online and compare reviews from real past customers.
Now that you know what NYSERDA cash rebates you’re eligible for and how to qualify, you can begin down the road to a solar-powered home. Contact a participating installer in Rockland and Orange County to learn more.