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Albany Solar Power for your house – rebates, tax credits, savings

Avatar for Dave Llorens
Written by
Published on 05/25/2012
Updated 01/19/2014

Welcome to the Albany solar power information page – Details Section

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It may be Manhattan that gets all the attention, but it’s in Albany that all those New York laws get crafted. That means it’s Albany we have to thank for the flat-out amazing incentives that New York has to offer you toward a new solar power system. It’s fitting then, that despite lower electricity prices than the big city, Albany is solidly within our A-grade payback timeframe. Add in some absurdly low initial costs, and solar power makes some serious sense here indeed.

New York’s Renewable Portfolio Standard

New York’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) is strong but not outstanding. The current state goal is to reach 22.5% renewable energy by 2020. That’s admirable, to be sure, but other states are already setting higher bars. Colorado, for instance, will have 30% renewable energy by 2020, and California is a few notches above that! While we’re still giving you an “A” in this area for the moment, New York is going to have to boost renewable energy production even more if it wants to keep up.

2% of the RPS’s renewable energy will have to come from solar. Since a lot of states have no solar mandate at all, we’re happy to see even 2%. But we’d still like to see higher minimums for the sort of small residential systems like the one you should be installing. Residential solar power systems aren’t just renewable, they’re as local as can be and small-scale to boot, meaning those residential solar power systems are efficient in transmission and minimal in their environmental footprint.

Why are the levels set in an RPS important? Because the RPS is what gets the state and the utilities to offer all these incentives to help you transition to solar power. The utilities get slapped with penalties (i.e, $$$) if they don’t meet their share of the RPS’s goals. So if the RPS had, say, a strong carve out for solar power and locally produced power, the utilities would be clamoring to offer you even more incentives to start putting up those solar panels.

Albany Solar Power Rebate

New York’s state rebate program is simple and superb. For every kilowatt of solar power you install the state gives you $1,750 back, up to the lesser of $12,500 or 40% of your total costs. For the typical 5 kw system, that means you’re getting a check for $8,750. Shop around with a few of our free quotes and you’ll even find an installer that will take that rebate off your starting price. Yep – we sure do make it easy!

Albany Solar Power Tax Credit

Well now. This is so good we almost can’t believe it. A big fat rebate, and a big fate state tax credit? Apparently so! In addition to the state rebate, you are entitled to a tax credit of the lesser of 25% of your total installation costs or $5,000. Between the rebate and tax credit, your maximum possible discount from the state is a sky-high $17,500, or 65% of your costs.

Just remember to file tax form IT-255 to receive the credit!

Tax Exemption

Did you know that your solar power system adds value to your home? It does! About 20 times your annual electricity bill savings in fact. Don’t worry though, thanks to the smart folks here in Albany that increase in value is 100% exempt from property taxes.

Better yet, your solar power system is also 100% from all sales tax.

Utility Prices

Electricity currently runs about $0.12 per kilowatt-hour here. While that’s a tad above the national average of 11.43, it’s pretty cheap in the grand scheme of things. Heck, down in the city they pay closer to $0.19/kwh, and even that is pretty cheap!

We burn fossil fuels to create all that energy. Thousands upon thousands of tons of fossil fuels. All those carbon emissions are starting to catch up with us, and everyone is starting to take notice. Energy prices are on their way up, and they are only going to keep going, and going.

You want to get on board with producing your own renewable energy now. It already saves you tons of cash, and it’s only going to save you more in the long run.

Net Metering and Interconnection

When you sign up for net metering, your utility will track how much electricity you produce and consume. If you use less energy than those solar panels pump out, you get the surplus back as a credit on your next bill at the current retail rate. At the end of your annual billing cycle, the utility will cut you a check at the avoided-costs rate, i.e., the retail rate at the time you ran the surplus (not the retail rate at the time the check is cut).

That’s all fantastic. The only thing missing is a guarantee that you can take advantage of all those net metering savings. Unfortunately there is currently a small 1% of capacity limit for net metering customers on each grid. That means you may not be able to get into the net metering program if too many people nearby beat you to the punch. If the capacity limit were raised to a much more reasonable 5%, connecting to the grid would be a breeze for residential customers.

If you’re not in an area that’s over capacity, getting onto the grid should be pretty simply. Your single-home solar power system qualifies for simplified interconnection procedures, you don’t need a redundant external disconnect switch, and you don’t need to carry any of your own liability insurance.

Example 5kW (5000 Watt DC STC) Solar System Return on Investment in Albany

Now that we have all this info, let’s check out an example solar power system in Albany.

Installing a typical 5kW solar system should run you about $25,000. That number sounds scary, but just wait till you see it fall, and fall …

  • Remember those state incentives we were raving about? Here’s where they figure in. First the state rebate. You’re getting $1,750 a kilowatt and you installed 5 kilowatts, so we subtract $8,750 for a new price of $16,250.
  • Next up, the state tax credit. That’s another $5,000 subtracted from the price, for a new total of $11,250.
  • The feds are smart enough to calculate your costs for the federal tax credit after state rebates, so you get back 30% of that $16,250 figure. Subtract another $4,875 and your total cost is now just $6,375. We told you it was going down fast!
  • Finally we subtract your annual electricity savings of $702 for a final cost after year 1 of $5,673. Holy discount Batman – we’ve taken almost 80% off the price!
  • With that low starting cost your solar power system should pay for itself in just 7 years.
  • On top of all that money you saved and are going to keep saving on your bill, your home value just went up by more than $14,000 – every single penny tax exempt.
  • On top of all that extra cash you’re not dishing out to NYSEG, your new solar power system is also helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, all that solar energy (and the equivalent lack of fossil-fuel burning energy) is like planting 103 trees this year!

Remember that this is an estimate. Your home is one of a kind, and what you get back from your solar power system could be more or less than what we calculated here. Don’t worry- we’re on top of it! We’ve got some partners in the area that we trust. Just fill out the form below and grab a free quote or three (or five – we did say they’re free, right?) and our expert installers can help you determine exactly how much money solar can save you.

The consensus on Albany solar power rebates and incentives

We really have to commend the legislators here. We set a high bar at Solar Power Rocks, and it’s not often we find a place that keeps on meeting it, but Albany comes about as close as anywhere. There are little things that could be worked on: electric prices are still too low; net metering and interconnection both have small potential tweaks that would make a world of difference; and the RPS has a bit more room to grow. All in all however, Albany is right up there with some of the most solar-friendly places we’ve seen.

Our older archived X Solar Power costs and savings breakdown images for reference:

Albany Solar Power - SummaryAlbany Solar Power - Panel Payback

Last modified: January 19, 2014

5 thoughts on “Albany Solar Power for your house – rebates, tax credits, savings

  1. Avatar for Tom Hardy Tom Hardy says:

    Are the ny state rebate of 25% applicable to panels purchased from a solar farm ? The rebate form states ” installed on primary residence “

  2. Avatar for John Clarkson John Clarkson says:

    The adding value to the property is a little bit of a stretch isn’t it? 20 x the cost of the electricity? How do you get that figure? Is this added into the payback time calculation? What would it be without that?

  3. Avatar for Joseph Joseph says:

    This needs to be updated. The New York state rebate is nowhere near this generous anymore. Its only .40 cents per watt now. Maybe thats offset by price drops though, my 10kW system cost 34,000 which is less than ten grand over the 25,000$ they used as an example here for a 5kW system.

    1. Avatar for Ben Zientara Ben Zientara says:

      Thanks, Joseph. We’re in the process of making the 2017 update now, which will reflect the changes to the rebate program.

  4. Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

    i have a pole mount system now and i want to up grade them , do you do this!

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