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The Empire State, is becoming The Solar State

In New York, the solar energy landscape shines bright, bolstered by a comprehensive array of incentives that make the Empire State a leader in encouraging solar adoption. At the heart of New York's commitment to solar energy is a mix of essential incentives, such as sales and property tax exemptions, coupled with more unique offerings like affordable loan programs and a range of local initiatives. These incentives collectively position New York at the forefront of states championing solar energy.

Key among these incentives is the Federal Tax Credit, applicable in New York as in most states. Given the average solar system cost of $19,175 in the state, the credit averages around $5,753. (Data provided from EcoWatch). The New York Solar Energy System Equipment Credit further enhances the appeal, offering a substantial 25% credit on photovoltaic (PV) equipment against state income taxes, up to $5,000. This typically translates to an average credit of $4,793 for New Yorkers, based on prevalent system costs in the region.

The NY-Sun Megawatt Block Incentive, a dynamic solar rebate program, provides rebates ranging from $0.20 to $0.80 per watt, with the amount varying based on the utility provider and the location within the state. Sales tax exemption on PV equipment and installation labor, a move to keep upfront solar costs manageable, saves customers an average of approximately $767, considering New York's 4% state sales tax rate.

New York's approach to property tax is also noteworthy. Since 1977, the Energy Conservation Improvements Property Tax Exemption has been in effect, ensuring that the added home value from solar installations remains untaxed. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers residential financing options with attractively low interest rates and accessible down payments, further easing the path to solar adoption.

Net metering in New York, historically at the full retail rate for excess energy sent back to the grid, is transitioning to a Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER) program. While this new credit rate is slightly below the retail rate, it remains a significant benefit, especially given the state's higher-than-average electricity rates.

Finally, local incentives add an extra layer of advantage for New York residents. Examples include the City of Riverhead's Energy Conservation Device Permitting Fees, New York City's Property Tax Abatement for PV and Energy Storage Equipment, and the Residential Solar Exemption for Sales Tax, which eliminates local sales tax on top of the state exemption.

In summary, New York's multifaceted approach to solar incentives not only underscores the state's commitment to renewable energy but also offers a robust model for other states to consider in their renewable energy strategies.


About the Author:

Jonathan Scheeler with Solar Improve. Jonathan is a professional in real estate, mortgage, and solar industry. As a Mortgage lender, he has financed around $100,000,000 in residential properties, consulted hundreds of home buyers on the topic of solar energy, and owns 10 rental properties in Central Illinois. Jonathan Scheeler is an alumni of Truman State University.

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