NY Solar Program: How to Go Solar Without Spending a Fortune

Do you want to lower your energy bills? Are you committed to doing your part for the environment? Installing solar panels is the best way to meet both of your goals. You might be thinking, “But solar panels are expensive. How can I go solar without spending a fortune?”

As a Rockland or Orange County resident, you’re in luck. NY has one of the best solar programs in the country, designed to help New Yorkers protect the environment and lower their energy costs. Learn more about this program and how to take part in the great incentives it offers.

What is the NY Solar Program?

The goal of the NY-Sun Initiative is to increase the number of solar panels installed across the state of New York. This is made possible by bringing together and expanding programs administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), PSEG Long Island, Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA).

The man behind the NY solar program is Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. In April 2014, he committed nearly $1 billion to NY-Sun, helping the program significantly increase its reach. This spurred a program re-launch in 2014 with a new goal of supporting 3.175 gigawatts of installed solar capacity by 2023.

The ultimate goal – which is to turn New York solar into a self-sufficient industry that no longer requires government subsidies because the cost of solar becomes comparable to electricity from the grid – is only possible because of the program’s $762 million budget. This money goes toward helping residences and businesses afford the switch to solar.

NY Solar Program Incentives

Residents, business owners, communities and local governments can all take advantage of the incentives NY-Sun offers. Qualifying properties include residential installations up to 25 kilowatts (kW) and commercial installations up to 200 kW. Solar arrays installed almost anywhere in New York State qualify, including those in Rockland and Orange County.

Incentive Payments

The NY-Sun Incentive Program allocates cash rebates for solar installations based on a megawatt block system that breaks the state up into regions and offers incentives based on historical demand, market penetration, installation costs and equity. The average incentive per watt is $0.40, but the amount you qualify for depends on exactly where you live.

A savings of $0.40 per watt may not sound like much, but it really adds up. After all, the average 5 kW solar array qualifies for $2,000 in cash rebates at this rate. Keep in mind that as the 2023 deadline approaches and the $762 million budget is paid out, rates are expected to drop.

Customers are approved for incentives on a first-come, first-served basis, so start your switch to solar without delay if you want to maximize your rebates!

Affordable Solar

Low- to moderate-income families in Rockland and Orange County, hear this! If your household earns less than 80% of the median income of the county in which you live, you could be eligible for double the incentives.

This means if a family of four living in Rockland County earns less than $79,040 per year, they can apply for $1.40 rebate per watt up to 6 kW. That’s up to $8,400 in cash rebates! Check the NYSERDA website to see if you qualify for these additional incentives.

How to Participate

It’s easy to take advantage of the NY solar program. Just follow these steps:

  • Select a participating solar installer to perform your installation. Tell the installer your intent to apply for incentives through the NY solar program to ensure an eligible installation.
  • Make sure the installer inspects your location to determine how suitable it is for solar. Ask how the installer plans to optimize system size and placement for the best solar panel performance.
  • Have your installer assist you with the necessary paperwork to apply for the NY solar program. The installer should submit the paperwork on your behalf so you can avoid adding stress to your solar installation project.

Other Ways to Save on NY Solar Installation

The NY-Sun Initiative is clearly a very lucrative option for New York residents, but it’s certainly not the only incentive available. Make sure you also take advantage of the following:

  • Federal income tax credits of 30% with no upper limit
  • New York tax credits of 25% with a $5,000 upper limit
  • 100% sales tax exemption
  • Property tax exemption for the next 15 years
  • Net metering to allow you to sell back excess electricity generated by your solar panels

Clearly, the NY solar program and other incentive options put a big dent in solar panel costs. Even low- to medium-income families in New York can afford to go solar with so many benefits and great financing options. Contact a participating solar installer in Rockland and Orange County to learn more.

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