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Welcome to the Ultimate Guide to Solar Panels in New York

This page is a complete guide to the complicated and sometimes confusing process of installing solar panels on your New York home. Since there's a lot to consider, we've separated the page into sections to help you find what you are looking for. If you find this page useful, please share it with someone who might also find it interesting!

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** What's new for 2020 **

New York is now the state we consider to be the best in the country to go solar. It earned first place in our 2020 solar rankings on the strength of its new RPS with solar carve out. The addition of our new low income solar ratings criteria also helps here. However, the state’s net metering is slated to be replaced by the VDER “value stack”, which may wind up making the returns on home solar installations a little less juicy in the future.

New York solar is going strong, with a history of success (800% increase in solar between 2011 and 2016) and a bright future. Solar rebates are still available for upstate homeowners and those served by Con Edison.

Between the state rebates and federal tax incentives, you could save 40% off the up-front cost of solar, and your panels will pay themselves off in just a few short years, leaving you with free electricity for the next few decades!

To learn more about these incentives and see if you qualify, connect with a New York solar expert today.

What you'll find on this page:

The Solar Strategy section is focused on the 3 ways of paying for solar in New York, so you can decide which is best for you. We've created a tool that asks you a few questions and recommends whether you should pursue a solar lease, loan, or outright purchase. Then, we provide detailed analysis of how each works.

The Policy Information section contains all our latest research on the rules set by lawmakers and the Public Utilities Commission, which determine how easy it is to go solar in New York. These policies and rules govern everything from renewable energy mandates to interconnection, and have a huge effect on the viability of solar.

Finally, the Solar Incentives section includes information about money-back rebates and grants, tax credits, and tax exemptions for going solar in New York.

Click any of the boxes below to go to that section of the page, or scroll down to read the page in order.

Generate an accurate online solar estimate for your home

Your Solar Strategy in New York

Figuring out the best way to go solar in New York can be a little daunting. From loans and leases to power-purchase agreements, there are a lot of options out there. To help you pick the one that might be best, we've created the handy decision tool below.

We'll ask you a few simple questions about you and your home. Once you're done, we'll recommend a good option. Further down this page, we provide cost estimates and example return-on-investment calculations for all the various options:

How should you pay for solar?

Use our decision tool to find out!

How to pay for solar panels in New York

The chart above shows the 25-year returns for an investment in solar whether you choose to purchase a system with cash or pay over time with a loan or Power-Purchase Agreement (PPA). One thing it's important to note is: solar makes you a lot of money in New York. Yes, we said "makes!" You see, New York's electricity prices are so high, going solar starts paying off right away. And with great rebates and tax credits, solar has never been cheaper.

Now let's discuss that chart above. As you can see, the cash purchase option leads to the highest dollar-amount returns over time, but look a little closer. Taking a solar loan or Home Equity Loan or Line of Credit (HELOC—the orange bars) and paying for the system over time means you'll actually spend zero dollars of your own money over time, while reaping a big financial benefit in year 1.

That's because you take a loan for you'll be paying over time for the system, but you still get all the benefits of paying up front. In New York, that means a 26% federal tax credit, 25% state tax credit, and big annual energy savings. With those huge tax credits, you'll actually come out way ahead after the first year. And even though you'll be making loan payments for 15 years, the net cost will be so low that you'll never actually spend that first year's windfall.

Finally, take a look at the blue bars. They represent a solar Power-Purchase Agreement (PPA), which is also called third-party ownership. With a lease or PPA, the solar installation company puts panels on your roof at no cost to you, and you buy the electricity they produce for cheaper than you would have paid the utility company. Your savings start small but finish big, because the cost of the PPA energy will rise by less than the electric company's annual rate hikes. Third-party ownership is an excellent option if you don't have any equity or cash to put down, and it still saves you money!

Read more below about each of three very good options for solar in New York.

How much can solar panels on roof save you?

Option 1: Paying cash for solar

An outright purchase used to be the only way to get solar, and it's still the option that provides the 'biggest' financial returns. The reason we put 'biggest' in quotes here is because it's technically true. You'll see a net return of almost $34,200 in 25 years if you pay up front. But it requires a significant up-front investment.

If you have equity in your home or good credit, you can get a solar loan or HELOC with an interest rate of 4% or less. It's like being able to start a business that is sure to succeed, just by having a roof. Read about loans below.

If you've got cash and you prefer to pay up front, you'll have to plunk down $19,840. But by the end of year 1, incentives and energy savings will erase a bunch of it. Over 25 years, your system will have produced about $34,200 in income. The reason this works is that electricity in New York is EXPENSIVE. Solar offsets enough of it to save you about $1,483 in year 1, and it just goes up from there. As the electric company raises rates, you save more and more, and more...

Here’s how the numbers pencil out when you pay up front for a 6.2-kW rooftop solar system:

  • Installing a typical 6.2-kW solar system should start at about $19,840 after a rebate from ConEd. If you're not a ConEd customer, you can tack on another $1,860 to that price. Don’t worry if that seems like a huge sum for solar, because after tax breaks and energy savings, your first-year costs will be considerably less than that.
  • The Feds calculate their incentive based on actual out of pocket costs, so take 26% of $19,840, for a tax credit of $5,158. Your total investment is now down to just $14,682.
  • Next comes the New York solar tax credit of 25% of costs, up to $5,000. 25% of the $19,840 cost of this system earns a NY state tax credit of $4,713, leaving only $9,969 after tax breaks!
  • After the tax credits we subtract your first year’s energy savings, which we estimate to be $1,483. That reduces your cost after the first year to only $8,485. That's right; these incentives leave you on the hook for just 43% of the total cost of the system after just 1 year!
  • Your system will pay for itself in just 6 years, and over its 25-year life, you'll see a total net profit of $34,208. The internal rate of return for this investment is a stupendous 18.6%!
  • And don't forget... your home's value just increased by around $16,300, too. That's the net present value of 20 years of energy bill savings!
  • In addition to all that cash (and home value), you’ve created some green for the earth as well by not using electricity from fossil fuels. It's like planting 66 trees a year, every year your solar power system is humming.
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in New York. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar panel system, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Option 2: Using a loan to pay for solar

You don't need $18,000 sitting around to pay for solar. As long as you have equity in your home, you can still own solar panels and reap all the benefits. Heck, even if you do have the cash, getting a loan to pay for solar is by far the best option when it comes to percentage return on investment.

That’s because, in New York, using a loan to pay for solar is like investing in a business that's sure to succeed, and also earns you a tax break. Wait... TWO tax breaks! You'll come out thousands ahead this year, and you'll still see a spectacular profit over the 25-year life of your system. The reason this works so well is that you're paying over time, but reaping all the benefits now. Your yearly energy savings will nearly offset the loan payments, which might sound like it's too good to be true... so let's take a look at the numbers.

A solar purchase like this will make sense for you if the following is true about you and your current situation:

  • You can qualify for a solar loan or home-equity line of credit (HELOC) for $15,500, with a fixed rate of 4% or lower and a 15-year repayment period. Don't be put off if you're offered a higher rate. It just means a tiny bit less of the thousands of dollars you'll make with solar.
  • You love making money without much risk.

Here’s how the numbers pencil out for a New York solar purchase with a loan:

  • Installing a typical 6.2-kW solar system should start at about $19,840. That's how big your loan will need to be to cover it.
  • The electricity you'll save in the first year of operation would have cost $1,483, but your annual loan payments will be $1,821, meaning you would spend $338 on solar this year, but...
  • You'll also see two huge tax breaks! The Feds give you 26% of the cost of your system back as a tax credit, which in this case is $5,158. Then add the 25% New York State Tax Credit to the mix for an additional $4,713 off. You'll be paying over time but getting all the benefits up front!
  • Those benefits add up to a net gain of $9,533 in your fisrt year as a solar owner. How about that?
  • The electricity savings will continue for 25 years, while your loan payments will last only 15. By the end of the 25-year life of your panels, you'll come out $26,728 ahead.
  • On top of the green that will stay in your pocket, your system will mean green for the environment, too. 66 trees-worth, every year!
Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in New York. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar loan, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Option 3: Buying the electricity, not the panels with a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)

A PPA is a great way to go solar if you haven't got stacks of cash or oodles of equity in your home. With thrid-party solar like this, it's possible to get solar panels for $0-down and see big savings over 20 or 25 years!

As for PPAs in New York: the electricity costs here a high as heck. That means a PPA can save you a good deal of money in the first year. The average homeowner will bank about $436 this year, meaning you can save the planet and make a little cash doing it!

Over time as the utility company raises rates, you will start to see greater annual savings. Over 25 years, our estimate shows a total savings of about $14,455. The panels will be installed and maintained by professionals, and all you have to do is brag to the Joneses down the street about your green habits!

How a PPA saves you money

Unlike a loan or cash purchase, a PPA means you don't own the panels on your roof. Instead, the solar company fronts the money for the installation, claiming all the available government incentives for themselves. Then over a term of 20 years (plus a 5-year renewal, in our estimate), they sell you the electricity produced by the panels, starting out a little cheaper than the fossil-fuel energy you had been buying from the utility company. Of course you'll still be hooked in to the grid to ensure you have power both when the sun is shining and when it's not, but the excess energy produced by the panels offsets your whole electicity bill just like it would if you own the system.

If you can get a good initial rate and a low escalator clause (the amount the PPA price increases per year), a PPA can truly be a win-win-win; for you, the solar company, and the environment. Of course, if you have the cash, equity, or credit, a solar loan is the best option. But for those without those things, a New York solar PPA can be a great option.

Keep in mind, the numbers above are based on an average home in New York. If you're ready for a custom quote for a solar PPA, our network of experts are on call to assist you. Simply sign up for personalized assistance on our special solar deals page.

Calculate solar panel cost and savings for your specific home

New York Solar Policy Information

Ever wonder why solar seems to be everywhere in some states, but not in others? We did too.

State legislatures and public utilities commissions can enact rules to make solar power accessible for everyone. Favorable rules explain why some of the cloudiest states—New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, are doing so well with solar, and yet some of those with the most natural solar resources—like Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia—are doing so poorly.

Below is important information about the public policy, rules, and economic reasons that affect your ability to go solar here in New York:

New York's Renewable Portfolio Standard

100% by 2050

Grade: A

New York's Renewable Portfolio Standard grade

New York has set an ambitious renewable portfolio standard that's among the best in the nation. In 2019, New York lawmakers established a requirement to derive at least 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by the year 2050. Not only is this a hefty percentage, but they’ve set an aggressive interim deadline of 50% by 2030, making New York’s RPS worthy of applause!

New York’s RPS is critical to strong renewable energy policy. Utility companies aren't really all that gung-ho about you producing your own power. After all, it costs them money when you use less of their electricity. They also don’t naturally want to give you big payments for energy you're feeding back into the grid. The main reason the utilities are aiding your transition to lower electric bills and offering you incentives to put solar on your roof is because the state forces them to. If the utilities don't hit their RPS numbers, they have to pay large fees back to the state.

Learn more about Renewable Portfolio Standards

New York's Solar carve-out and SRECs

6GW by 2025

Grade: B

New York's Solar Carve-out grade

In 2019, New York passed its new Renewable Portfolio Standard and saw fit to add a requirement of 6 gigawatts of solar generation by 2025. That's a HUGE goal, and very laudable, but the devil is in the detials. The new law gives the state until 2024 to craft a plan to meet that mandate. Uh, they're gonna need to work a little more quickly than that.

Regardless of the late deadline to draft a plan, New York is going to try to meet that goal. As of the beginning of 2020, the state had exceeded 2 GW of installed solar, and with some carrots-and-sticks coming (hopefully) soon, will get to work on supporting the installation of the remaining 4 GW. It's not going to be easy, but it might just work.

If NYSERDA can come up with some good ways to support the goal, we'll raise the mandate's grade from a B to an A+!

Learn more about Solar Carve-outs

New York Electricity Prices


Grade: A

New York's Electricity cost grade

New Yorkers pay quite a bit more than the national average for electricity, and those rates are rising. New York’s average electricity price is 19 cents/kWh -- almost 40% more than the national average of 13.6 cents/kWh. That means while you currently see larger bills, with solar, you'll be seeing bigger savings!

Higher electricity prices means greater opportunity to save money by producing your own clean, earth-friendly solar power. Not to mention the fact that the rising environmental costs and dwindling supply of fossil fuels is going to lead to even faster increases in energy prices, likely sooner rather than later. When energy prices start going up and up (and up), you’re going to be saving more and more (and more) money for making the switch to solar now. Just remember to thank us later.

Find out why electricity prices matter

New York Net Metering

Statewide w/caveats

Grade: B

New York's Net Metering grade

In New York, utility companies are currently required to provide net metering services for residential systems up to 25kW. Any net excess electricity generation is generally credited to your next bill at retail rate. However, for residential solar in New York, excess generation is reconciled annually at the avoided-cost rate. A recent update to the policy requires utility companies to give you the opportunity (when you first install and connect your system) to choose when this pay period ends to avoid cashing out at a disadvantageous time. Pretty sweet, huh?

In 2017, the New York Public Service Commission issued an order regarding the future of net metering in the state. The order outlines the move from traditional net metering into a Value of Distributed Energy Resource (VDER) tariff that accurately values and compensates distributed energy resources. You’ll get to avoid VDER for another year, as the deadline to net meter for the next 20 years has been extended for solar installations which are completed before January, 2021.

After 2020, expect a 20 year contract, where your Net Excess Generation (NEG) accrues until the end of an annual period, then at the end of each annual billing cycle you’ll be paid at the utility's avoided-cost rate for any unused NEG. This will be lower than full retail net metering, so we strongly recommend going solar in 2020 here to lock in your net metering agreement!

Learn more about net metering

New York Interconnection Rules


Grade: B

New York's Interconnection Standards grade

New York has been doing well to promote solar with a fair approach to net-metering and making connections to the grid go smoothly without a bunch of bureaucratic headaches. Their interconnection standards address customer responsibility for equipment costs, but these treatments vary by customer type and system size. Speak to your local installer for interconnection information specific to your new solar project.

Learn more about solar interconnection rules

New York Solar Incentives

Next to high electricity prices and net metering, solar incentives have traditionally been the most important factor for whether home solar power makes financial sense in a state. In the past, some states with otherwise lousy policy had tremendous incentives that drove down the up-front cost of going solar so much that homeowners could save oodles of money even without net metering or a good RPS.

These days, the big incentive most people can get is the Federal Solar Tax Credit that earns you 26% of your total system costs back after just 1 year. State incentives play less of a role than in the past, but some really good ones are still out there, ready to help homeowners go solar and save money before you know it.

Let's see how New York measures up:

The availability of state solar incentives for residential solar systems was sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, utility company websites, and the state public utility commission.

New York Solar Power Rebates

$300-$350 per kW

Grade: B

New York's Solar Rebates grade

Through the NY-Sun PV Incentive Program, New York residents statewide are looking at rebate rates of $300-$350 per kW on solar installations up to 25 kW. That means you can expect a rebate of $1,500-$1,750 on a 5-kW system. Be aware, however, that these numbers are on the decline as state solar capacity goals are met. Long Island is already out of funding, so don’t be late to the awesome incentives party if you live in other areas of New York!

Especially don't be late if you live in a low-moderate income household. New York’s affordable solar program passed new rules to make solar more affordable for households that make up to 80% of their county's median income.

For example, in Westchester County, a family of 4 with an income of less than $84,560 will get $800 per kilowatt off the cost of their solar system, which is a huge deal! There are even low-interest solar loans available to help you pay for solar over time.

More funding and an extensions through 2025 have been requested for the program. We’ve reached out to our contacts at NYSERDA for more information, we’ll provide an update here when we get it.

Learn more about solar rebates

New York Solar Tax Credits

25% up to $5,000

Grade: A

New York's Solar Tax Credits grade

Next up is the sizable New York solar tax credit. You simply take 25% of your total installation cost and file this handy New York tax form IT-255 to receive the credit. Be mindful, there’s a cap of $5,000 on this. So, if your cost is more than $20,000, you won't get a tax credit bigger than $5,000 back from the state.

All solar installations are eligible for a tax credit from the Feds as well. You need to calculate your expenses after rebates for this one, so for our hypothetical 6.2-kW system priced at around $22,000, you can expect back $5,720 (26% of the up-front cost). Add that to the $5,000 back from the state and you're already almost 50% of the way to paying off your system!

Learn more about state solar tax credits

Property Tax Exemption


Grade: A

New York's Solar Property Tax Exemptions grade

Lawmakers in New York have been doing their best to make going solar easier for residents. In addition to the above solar power rebates and tax credits, the addition of solar panels to your home is exempt from property tax increases for a solid fifteen years, despite the fact that you’ll be adding roughly 20 times your annual electricity bill savings to your property value. In the case of our 5kW example, that adds up to about $23,000 (~20 times your annual electricity savings of $1,200).

Sales Tax Exemption


Grade: A

New York's Solar Sales Tax Exemption grade

Contrary to other home improvements like a new kitchen or bathroom, with solar panels in New York, you will not have to pay any sales taxes on your system! That's a bunch of cash you're saving right upfront.

Learn more about tax exemptions for solar

Low-income Solar Programs

NYSERDA Affordable

Grade: A

New York's Solar Sales Tax Exemption grade Learn more about low-income solar programs available in the U.S.

The final word of New York Solar Incentives and Policy

New York Solar solar power rebates and incentives rock! Hopefully, New York’s leaders will continue their fine work and keep incentive programs and good laws alive for homeowners who want to go solar. For now, the state earns its “A” grade with flying colors!

53 thoughts on “2020 New York Solar Incentives, Tax Credits, Rebates & More

  1. Avatar for zahid zahid says:

    hi dear its a very nice and helpful blog

  2. Avatar for Kate Kate says:

    Hello, I am doing a project for my STEM Science and I was wondering about what is the average return investment for solar panels?

  3. Avatar for Christopher M Christopher M says:

    I was in the process of shopping around looking at solar companies. I was dealing with one gentleman who showed up at my door that worked for Vivint. After meeting with him he said I needed to sign an agreemetn to proceed. i told him I didn’t want to sign until I know which company I wanted to go with. He said I could cancel even with the “trucks in the driveway” i told him no, he said I had to to proceed and that I could cancel no questions asked. I signed, when he called a bout a month later after guys coming to my house and taking pctures of inside of attic. i received an email from Vivint, I spoke toi the salesman and said I want to cancel as I am not ready yet, April is no good, he said no problem he would take care of it. ia sked him if I needed to send an email or call vivint he said no he was there to work for me and he was Vivint. He started emailing me for new dates the next day. Anyway they installed on the cancelled date. That was in April of 2016. i still don’t know whats going on, I want my house put bak to the way it was before. Is there any reglatory comittee overseeing these companies or is it the wild west?? I need help – my house is my biggest asset and now I feel like it’s been severly devalued.

  4. Avatar for RODNEY [PLOWE RODNEY [PLOWE says:

    I am requiring a larger roof mount system around 15Kw. I won’t be able to use the full 30% tax credit in the year installed, if I even can having a business run out of the home, how many years do you have to consume the full credit value?

    1. Avatar for Ben Zientara Ben Zientara says:

      Hi Rodney- From what we hear, this is treated as any other tax credit in that you can take it until your whole credit is exhausted. As for your other questions, You don’t need to claim the NY tax credit as income received on your 1040. As for the home-based-business question, I think you can still take the whole credit (as long as your home is also your primary residence), but there will definitely be some special rules governing how you take depreciation (if at all) for the home or the portion of the home you use in the business. It seems like you need to speak to a CPA or tax attorney. Good luck, man!

  5. Avatar for RODNEY PLOWE RODNEY PLOWE says:

    If you tax the NY tax credit must you then claim it as income on your federal form 1040 as income recieved?

  6. Avatar for RODNEY PLOWE RODNEY PLOWE says:

    The basement of my home is used for a home daycare business. being that we also run a business from the home can I still claim the full 30% tax credit?

  7. Avatar for Keenan Jones Keenan Jones says:

    Ny does have solar performance payments, it’s handled by the utility and it is calulated at the end of a 12 month cycle, which they pay wholesale rate.

  8. Avatar for Tim Hardy Tim Hardy says:

    Does Solarpowerrocks have info on extending Income Tax Credits past the first year of purchase? IE if someone didn’t paying enough in taxes 2015 to get their full ITC back, can they extend that into 2016,2017, 2018?

    1. Avatar for Ben Zientara Ben Zientara says:

      Hi Tim,

      We’re certainly not tax advisers, so take what we say with a grain of salt and check with a CPA or attorney, but from what we understand, you can carry forward the unused portion of the ITC until you’ve received the full amount of the credit. More can be found at our ITC post, Read the comments for deeper insights.

  9. Avatar for Yacine Faye Yacine Faye says:

    Greetings My name is Ndèye Yacine Seck Faye. I am 27 years old and i am from Senegal. I am a business lawyer and i am from Senegal and hol a Master Degree in Private Law and a Master Degree in Law Engineering and Business Management. I am presently working with friends in a project to supply solar panels in Africa and more particularly in Senegal. The reason why we are interested in solar energy and your products , is that our countries are facing a lot of troubles which constitute an undeniable brake in the economic and social development. Our countries totally depend on the fuel electricity supplied by a national company . This national company dont have enough capacity to provide enough electricity. Power cuts are so current that they became normal for senegalese people . Furthermore, the access rate to electricity is very low even non existent in certain parts of the country or the continent. African countries are the most sunniest parts of the globe . They have this great advantage but just dont use it. Here is in summary the reasons why, worrying of remedying this recurring problems of power cuts or absence of electricity, we are in search of partners working in this field of solar energy to help us. Our goal is to use solar energy for a sustainable , economic and social development. I stay tuned to supply you more information on this project. Best Regards

  10. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    About 6 years ago I had a solar thermal system installed and received 25% back from NY. If I install a PV system, will I be limited to whatever amount gets me to that $5000 limit, or is there a $5000 limit for each system?

  11. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    Where can I find homeowners’ review of Amergy Solar?

  12. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    How do the incentives apply to an off grid installation? Obviously leasing is not an option, but do the other rebates and tax credits still apply?if I am building I would rather go off grid initially rather than pay to hook up electricity and then install solar just to not use the city’s!

  13. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    How does this apply to off grid installations.

  14. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    what the credit score you need to have this

  15. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    Furthermore, NYSERA clarified that the New York State incentive is not government funds, but rather money recovered from the utilities (the SBC/RPS surcharge on my ConEd bill). For this reason, NYSERDA recommends also using the gross system cost (including the NYSERDA incentive) when stating the cost basis for the NYS 25% tax credit.

  16. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    Just read IRS Notice 2013-70. In Question 11 asks if cost basis must be reduced by amount of State Incentives, and the Answer 11.03 states no. So the 30% federal tax credit should be based on the complete cost of the system including the NYSERDA incentive paid to the contractor.

  17. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    Be careful with the property tax exemption in New York State. Politicians brag about the exemption but they don’t mention the fact that local municipalities can create their own rule to exempt their area from it. Guess what they do! So, there really isn’t a property tax exemption.

  18. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    We were told we couldn’t use the roof system for solor panels. Would we be able to get a solor panels on the ground. And I don’t quite understand how the cost comes into the picture? Would we still be able to get no money down?

  19. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    I hear the 2014 Tax incentives expired on 2014- is that true? we are looking to install a new roof to support the new panels.

  20. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    I am considering Leasing Panels. Are there any Tax incentives if you lease?

    1. Avatar for Dan Hahn Dan Hahn says:

      Hey there anonymous! Unfortunately, you forgo all the possible tax incentives and rebates when you lease your system, but hey, you get solar panels on your roof and you’re generating your own electricity basically for free with nothing out of pocket. So, if you can’t afford the out of pocket cost or lack your own financing to buy the panels yourself, it’s a nice way to go.

  21. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    I have a great location for solar, but wanted to know what the maintenance is likely to be, and the effects of wind and snow on the system. Also, can I have a system on my home roof, and another on my detached garage roof? Thanks!

    1. Avatar for Patrick Kilhoffer Patrick Kilhoffer says:

      The maintenance is likely to be close to zero. The inverter may fail every decade or two, and a squirrel might chew through a wire (Critter wire is important!) but in general the lack of moving parts and established companies and technologies makes for a pretty easy ownership experience. The installer will slope the panels so that the snow will slide off by itself as soon as the sun warms up the panels a bit in the morning. You might have to help it along once or twice, but if the sun isn’t shining enough to melt the snow off the panels you probably aren’t missing much electricity production by having them covered. If you are really concerned, you can ask for micro inverters on each panel so that each panel is producing electricity independently. The installer will also make certain that your roof and racking system can handle the snow and wind loads that are expected in your area. In general having two different locations is not a problem, many people do that. Depending on some variables you may end up with two smaller inverters or one larger one, but that’s really just a detail.

  22. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:


  23. Avatar for Dave Llorens Dave Llorens says:

    Frank I think you should signup here if you want a solar quote:

    I don’t want to approve your comment because it will post your email address on the internet.


  24. Avatar for George George says:

    Are flat roof solar installations more difficult, thereby more expensive? Any concern for wind being an issue with flat roof installation? And finally, would we still get all these incentives and rebates in 2012 if we went with any of the now much cheaper solar panels that are now available from China?

  25. Avatar for And And says:

    Where can I get information about the cost of electricity by the hour (for New York State)? And yet, if I install solar panels and batteries, may I sell the stored energy?

  26. Avatar for Steve Steve says:

    Do not consider any alternative energy source (solar or wind) in New York state because in 15 years your assesment will go up in amount equal to what you paid for the system before the grants and tax credits. There is no such thing as a payback. I speak from experience because this happened to me. I also was required to get a special use permit that cost me $50/year to renew for my 7.2Kw pole mounted system on my 9.5 acres of land mounted 500 feet from the road! Only in New York (sheisterville) do you get the runaround by crooks! My system was installed in June 2011. Don’t get taken by the scam!
    I thought I would let anyone considering and energy source to know the truth because I was lied too.

  27. Avatar for madeline Sweeney madeline Sweeney says:

    I put up solar panels on my home, I went through all the proper channels and got the ok from the NYC Dept of Bldgs. Now, a year later, the DOB issued a permit to my neighbors to build their roof higher – partially blocking my solar panels. What can I do?

  28. Avatar for LISA LISA says:


    1. Avatar for Dan Hahn Dan Hahn says:

      Unless he’s licensed to do the work Lisa, most probably no. The installation has to meet strict codes that are more assured with training.

  29. Avatar for New York Forum New York Forum says:

    We would like to quote the four points under “NY Solar Incentives” on our forum (with a back link to this page for our readers to see the entire article) and wanted to kow if that is fine.

    Were asking since it could cause duplicate content in the search engines and may also be copyrighted.

  30. Avatar for Dotti Dotti says:

    Hi all,
    I have 4, possibly 5 Residential homes in Bronx NY 10465 adjacent to each other that would be interested in getting off the grid and or profiting from the excess energy produced. If we had solar we would possibly consider heating with electric and save some or all of our oil heat bills. We all use electric for cooking at this point because we did not have gas in our neighborhood until last year.
    Can you advise?

  31. Avatar for T.Parker T.Parker says:

    Would you give an example of what a 5Kw system would power in an average home? Is that typically enough energy to heat hot water as well? Would you also be able to explain battery storage of solar? Or is storage not cost efficient yet.
    Thanks for any guidance you can give.

  32. Avatar for Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

    Thanks for the info, Steve. Essentially, for all those afraid of clicking downloads, the incentives have been chopped to $1.75/watt ($1750/kW) for residential to a maximum of 5kW. For commercial, it’s also $1750/kW but up to a 50kW system. Also, in both cases, you can’t get more than 50% of the installed cost covered by the rebate, but don’t forget you’ll also be getting the 30% Federal Tax Credit, so this is still a great deal. Thanks, NY!

  33. Avatar for Steve Steve says:

    NYSERDA reduced their incentives again on 1/11/2010. Here is a link to the new incentives:

  34. Avatar for tim tim says:

    I just got a Quote for a Solar PV system with a flat roof installation of amphorous tubes and crystal PV as an awning on a balcony for approximately 10 per kwt
    is this a fair price in todays market.
    3 story building, flat roof, third floor balcony for the solar awning.
    Net metered system.

    1. Avatar for Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:


      $10 sounds high for a typical system, but it sounds like you’re doing this in a more customized way than typical. You also need racking, which is extra, and if you’re using as an awning, you’re probably paying extra for that hardware. Also don’t know about any other electrical upgrades needs you might have, which can add to the cost. So…. I would get 2 or 3 quotes to be sure.

      If it were a normal, typical roof top system, without any unusual extras, it should be around $7.50/watt or $7,500/kilowatt, installed. New York is also not as competitive as other states, where it might be even less. But again, it sounds like you’ve got extras, so… might be fair. Best to get another quote and compare.

  35. Avatar for Paul Paul says:

    Why do most of the solar calculators out there (NYSERDA’s for one) estimate an annual electricity savings so much lower than yours? Most say the same system (5kW with regular bill of $150 per month) will save only about $300 per year. I’m hoping you are right, but you’re the exception, not the rule. Thanks.

    1. Avatar for Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      Here’s the difference, Paul. First of all, your utility and their rate plans matter. I wrote the above example for Brooklyn, originally, but I realized that doesn’t apply to most of the state. Just NYC, because of a special tax abatement. This latest estimate is for Westchester (updated 10/21/09).

      Also, most calculator parameters are set to a “Default” per watt charge and other defaults. These are usually way behind the times or are too conservative. Based on our sources, we try to give you a competitively priced example that’s in the middle, but it’s always lower than the default (higher) price.

      Of course this default changes all the time. I actually wrote the NY post BASED on the NY calculator. The difference is that I changed the cost parameter to $7.50/watt (7500/kilowatt.) What you save per year is going to also be based on what you input as the your electric rate, as well as what you anticipate the rate rising over the next few years. Taxable income and marital status also affect these figures.

      This is one reason why I don’t like these public calculators. You really have to know how to use them and have the right info to use them. We do our best to keep up to date as professionals, so we’re better than others. The other problem, as I said earlier, is that the rates change…but the software isn’t updated to reflect that.

      In any case, I just redid my calculations using the parameters that I believe I used and I was off. I also had to update because the new rebate rates just went into effect. This may also be the difference, but I swear I didn’t pick that earlier number out of my solar butt. I just input another parameter, and I don’t remember what that is…or the NY state rate software was updated and is now giving a more conservative figure.

      I’m thinking the latter because we really, REALLY try to be transparent and honest on SolarPowerRocks. In all of our posts, we simplify things, yes, so that you can understand it, but we are always honest with our figures.

      As always, if you want to check our figures, get a few quotes from one of our partner installers. Bottom line, we’re human and we make mistakes or are outdated sometimes, but we’re always transparent and if we make a mistake, we’ll always cop to it and tell our readers. If we were trying to hide something, we wouldn’t have published your comment and I wouldn’t have spent the last hour updating the post. The delete button is so much easier, but that’s not how do things here at SPR.

      Thanks for the question!

  36. Avatar for Michael Crowell Michael Crowell says:

    According to the LI Power Authority, the NYS tax credit is not $5,000, but “25% Residential Tax Credit on net costs for a solar electric system” UP TO $5,000. ( Also, according to a solar contractor we’ve talked to, this is based on the net cost AFTER any power company rebates (in the case of LIPA, $3.50/watt)

    1. Avatar for Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      Sorry for the misunderstanding, Ron. You’re right, and we’ve fixed it. However, for the example that we gave, it would not have made a difference, as the 25% of net /post rebate cost would still have been over the $5,000 cap. If you have a smaller system than 5kW, however, yes, it would have meant a lower state tax credit.

      Thanks for pointing that out. We short hand things here to keep it simple, but that’s one we should have been more specific about. Hope our error didn’t keep you from going solar.

  37. Avatar for K K says:

    Subtract $7,050 for the 30% Federal tax credit (calculated after subtracting the State rebate)

    ! BUT The federal credit is limited to $2,000 see form 5695 !

    1. Avatar for Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" Tor a.k.a. "Solar Fred" says:

      That form is out of date. There is no longer a $2000 cap on the Federal Investment Tax Credit. It is 30%.

  38. Avatar for Joan Bobbette Joan Bobbette says:

    What about off-grid systems? Doesn;t it seem that everything is geared to helping the utilities and not the consumers? What rebates and incentives are available from New York State for off-grid systems?

  39. Avatar for john john says:

    hi i live in staten island n.y i am interested in installing solar panels i want a 8kw system enough to get me off the grid can you tell me what all the rebates are

  40. Avatar for shirley hirsch shirley hirsch says:

    I live in Rockland County, N.Y.I would like to install a solar hot water heater for my pool. Can I qualify for a grant and what are the incentives? (I am handicapped)

  41. Avatar for Roger Roger says:

    Is there any reason the cost for mains electricity is so high in NY state?

  42. Avatar for George L. Joubert George L. Joubert says:

    Dear Sir/Madam, I would like to start a similar service to yours (this web site) in South Africa where we have a desperate need for energy other than our “cheap” coal. Would you be prepared to assist me with this project?
    Regards, George

  43. Avatar for chris chris says:

    where do i get a list of percise rebates and incentives offered by ny state as well as LIPA?

  44. Avatar for h. robins h. robins says:

    is there any info that you can send me or can you tell me about rebates from the government to make the install cheaper

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