hen most people think of New York, they are more likely to imagine skyscrapers, Broadway shows, and yes, sometimes gloomy weather. But did you know that New York actually has more sunny days than the national average? That's right, with approximately 224 sunny days annually, it surpasses the national standard of 205 days. So, it seems the Empire State isn't as lacking in sunshine as one might assume.
Why Solar is More New York Than You Think
A surprising number of homes in New York are perfectly suited for solar photovoltaic (PV) energy. In fact, a whopping 78% of NY rooftops are suitable for solar installations, making the state a hidden gem in the world of renewable energy.
What's more, New York State also grapples with some of the highest electricity rates in the nation. On average, residents face a monthly electric bill of around $230. That's a figure that most of us would certainly like to shrink, and solar power provides a great opportunity to achieve just that.
Another reason to seriously consider adopting photovoltaics in New York is the state's generous incentives for homeowners looking to make the switch. Benefits such as net metering and a state tax credit can significantly ease the financial burden of the initial setup.
Furthermore, if that's not convincing enough, think about this: homes equipped with PV panels in New York City actually command a 5.4% higher selling price compared to similar homes without them. So, not only can solar energy reduce your immediate expenses, but it can also turn into a profitable venture over time.
Breaking Down the Costs: Investment vs. Savings
Now, let's discuss the financial aspect. While the idea of using the sun’s power is appealing, what does it cost? As of September 2023, the average price for solar in NY is approximately $3.15 per watt. For a typical home installation requiring a 7-kW system, you're likely to invest between $18,700 and $25,300 upfront. The average gross price comes in at about $22,000. Sure, it's a significant amount of money, but here's something to consider.
Remember those solar incentives we mentioned earlier? Factor in the 30% federal investment tax credit, and you're already reducing your out-of-pocket costs by $6,600. In the end, you might cut the final price by more than half.
Navigating the Incentives in New York
Harnessing the sun's energy in the Empire State comes with a bundle of perks, turning the switch to solar power into a double win. Let's take a closer look at the details and decode the landscape of incentives.
Federal Tax Credit: Starting at the federal level, there's the Investment Tax Credit. Essentially, if you opt for photovoltaic system installation, you can enjoy a 30% tax deduction on both the equipment and battery storage. Originally, this generous incentive was expected to decrease to 22% this year, but thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), it remains at 30% until 2033. Beyond that, it will gradually decrease, reaching 22% in 2034 unless Congress chooses to extend it once more.
New York State Solar Energy System Equipment Tax Credit: New York State offers its own solar tax credit, which gives you a 25% refund on the total cost of a solar panel system installation. What makes it even better is that you can pair this state tax credit with the federal one, resulting in significant savings. While the credit maxes out at $5,000, it's still a great deal and even leased systems are eligible, unlike with the federal credit.
Megawatt Block Incentive: A part of New York’s broader NY-Sun Initiative, this incentive is basically an up-front rebate on your panel system. The initiative slices the state into regions, each with its own block of megawatts (MW) eligible for these incentives. Depending on where you live, you could get back anywhere from 20 to 50 cents per watt.
Solar Electric Generating System Tax Abatement: This incentive offers a four-year, 5% tax cut on solar systems for both homes and commercial buildings. You could save up to $62,500 per year for four years, depending on your annual tax liability. The NYC Department of Buildings takes care of the eligibility process, and the Department of Finance handles the benefits.
Sales Tax Exemption: When you're shopping for solar panels in New York, you won't have to worry about the usual 4% sales tax. PV systems are exempt from sales tax, so you can mark that off your budgeting list.
Property Tax Exemption: Concerned about property taxes after installing your panels? Don't be. Thanks to the Clean Energy Systems Exception, your setup won't boost your property taxes for 15 years.
Net Metering: Last but not least, let's talk net metering. If you're generating more solar power than you use, you can sell that surplus back to the electric company for some sweet bill credits. The rules on this vary depending on your utility company, but typically, this option is open for residential systems under 25 kW.
Best Installers in the State
You've got options when it comes to solar installers, but it's crucial to pick the right one. Here, we'll shine a light on some of the key players
SunPower is one of the pioneers in the industry, with over three decades of experience. They are known for their focus on efficiency, with solar panels that can convert up to 22.8% of sunlight into electricity. All of their components are manufactured in-house, ensuring seamless compatibility right from the start. To sweeten the deal, they offer a robust 25-year warranty, which even guarantees 92% power output.
Momentum Solar may not have a presence in as many states as some other companies, but there's a strategic reason behind this. They've chosen to focus on states with favorable net metering and other incentives, which translates to exceptional service and product quality. They offer a variety of panel options to suit your requirements, and their warranty options are outstanding, with a 25-year guarantee covering both workmanship and equipment.
Venture Solar is proudly based in Brooklyn, and they have a deep understanding of New York's solar incentives. If aesthetics matter to you, Venture is the way to go. Their systems not only perform well but also exude a sleek and minimalist design that's visually pleasing. Additionally, their 25-year bumper-to-bumper warranty means you're investing in peace of mind along with clean energy.
In Summary: Yay or Nay to Solar Panels in New York?
So, should you hitch your wagon to the solar train in New York? Absolutely. The state enjoys more sunny days than the national average, has high electricity costs that can be reduced, and offers various incentives to make going solar financially feasible. Additionally, keep in mind the potential increase in your property's value if you decide to sell it later on. So, don't hesitate to harness the power of the sun for your New York home!