What Solar Companies in NY Aren’t Telling You

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There are many benefits to installing solar panels to your home – from reducing your carbon footprint to the potential cost savings on your energy bill. However, there are also important aspects of investing in residential solar power to take under consideration that solar companies in New York might not be telling you. As with any other major home investment,  do your homework before you buy.

Hidden Costs of Solar Power

While the cost of investing in residential solar panels has become more affordable since it was brought to market, there are still many “hidden costs” associated with solar power. Here are some costs solar companies in NY may not be upfront about.

Roof Type

The type of roof you have can have a big impact on the cost of installing solar panels. Certain types of roofs, such as Spanish tile or shake, have higher costs associated with installation than other roof types, such as an asphalt shingle roof. For these roofs, solar companies need to take extra time and care to ensure attachment points are solid and properly sealed, adding additional cost at the time of installation.

Building Permits

As a homeowner, you are required to file building applications and permits before installing a solar panel system. This can add to the cost of installation. Additionally, required permits and restrictions are not universal throughout the state of New York. Local governments set building permits and zoning restrictions. Even smaller details, such as how much clearance you are required to have around the edge of your roof, can change from city to city. If your solar panel system is not installed correctly for your particular district, you can incur even further costs in fees and re-installation.


While solar panels have no moving parts, lowering the cost of maintenance, this does not eliminate the need for maintenance or even repairs. Generally speaking, solar panels should be inspected a few times a year for dirt or debris that may collect on them. If you decide to do any of the cleaning of your solar panel system yourself, you will need to be sure to wash them at the proper temperatures and at the most ideal time of day ­– during early morning or evening ­– to avoid causing costly cracks or damages to your panels.

There are other options for maintaining your solar panel system. You can hire a professional to come out periodically to clean your panels or install a programmable cleaner, which works much like a sprinkler system for your roof.  However, these are more costly options for keeping your solar panels clean and fully functioning, and should be taken into account when pricing the cost of installation and long-term maintenance.


Once you have invested in solar panels, you will want to keep your investment safe from hazards such as fire and natural disasters. Depending on your current home insurance policy, you will likely need to pay extra to add solar panel protection to your existing policy.

Leasing Solar Panels vs. Buying Solar Panels

If you are not confident that purchasing solar panels is for you, but still interested in the financial and environmental benefits of solar power, there are no money down options to consider. Leasing solar panels is a viable option for most homeowners throughout the state of New York. If you decide to lease panels instead of buy, you incur no out-of-pocket costs and can benefit from reduced electricity payments almost immediately.

Leasing can be a fantastic option, particularly in the short run. Unfortunately, when leasing you do forgo the long-term financial benefits of owning a solar panel system. For example, you do not qualify for the tax credits and performance payments that you receive from owning solar panels.

NY Solar Power Incentives

New York State has a fantastic range of solar power rebates and incentives that you will want to know about:

  • Tax Exemptions: Unlike other home improvements, the state of New York does not require you to pay sales taxes on your solar panel system and will exempt you from any property tax increases for a full 15 years, despite the increase in property value you receive with a solar power system.
  • Credits and Rebates: In addition to tax exceptions, you can also receive tax credits and rebates towards the installation cost of your panels. Be mindful though, New York caps its solar tax credit and rebates are on the decline as the state reaches its solar capacity goals, something solar companies in NY may fail to mention.

There are many costs and benefits associated with solar power that solar companies in NY aren’t telling you. But with the right research, you can be confident when deciding if installing a solar panel system is right for you.

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