New York is working to drive growth in the solar industry. With a goal of developing 3,000 megawatts of small-scale solar photovoltaic facilities by 2023, the state’s NY-Sun initiative provides funding for PV systems, encouraging residents, small businesses and industrial companies to go solar and ultimately make the industry self-sufficient in New York. Growth in the industry makes solar panels in New York a much more viable option for state residents today.

New York’s Solar
Report Card

Grade
Methodology

To determine a grade for each state, our researchers and solar experts analyzed data on crucial solar-advancement criteria from the following sources:

We determined a rank from 1 to 10 for each state in each category. We then combined the scores with the following weights and assigned an overall grade for each state. Our goal is to encourage those considering solar for their homes to get a basic understanding of solar potential in their areas and discover the best opportunities for clean energy available.

Incentives & Rebates, 40%

Electricity Rate, 15%

Renewable Energy Policy, 30%

Interconnection Ease, 5%

Photovoltaic Potential, 10%

What Does Electricity Cost in New York?

With the average cost of electricity as high as $0.16/kWh, New York is an excellent position to move to solar energy. As electricity rates have held steady since 2005, rarely dipping below $0.15/kWh, they have remained well above the national average, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Still, natural gas is responsible for most of the electricity in New York by a wide margin, with the residential and transportation sectors about equal in terms of consumption.

Cost of Residential Electricity

Data from U.S. Energy Information Administration
*as of Q3 2015

New York Solar
Resource Library

Solar Panel Incentives in New York

New York has embraced solar power as the energy of the future. Governor Cuomo and the Public Service Commission (PSC) are working together to make regulatory changes that create energy savings and bring clean, affordable electric service to the community. By replacing clean energy mandates that expired in 2015 with Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), New York aims to make incentives more attractive to businesses and consumers. REV goals include empowering New Yorkers with the information they need to make smart energy choices. For example, the NY Drive initiative offers $40 million in prizes to communities who successfully build microgrids for local energy.

REBATES/INCENTIVES

NY-Sun PV Incentive Program (Residential, Low-Income, and Small Business):

Cash incentives are available for installing solar PV systems that are connected to the grid and are less than 200 kW in size. The incentive rates increase or decrease as MW-related goals are achieved. The maximum incentive is 110 percent of the energy demand for 25 kW, whichever is less, for a residence. For a business, the maximum incentive is 110 percent of the energy demand or 200 kW, whichever is less.

NY-Sun Loan Program:

Loans are available for the installation of solar PV systems. Loans range from $13,000 to $25,000 for residential customers and up to $100,000 for businesses. The loan terms are five, 10 or 15 years and have to be within the useful life expected for the system.

Municipal Sustainable Energy Programs:

Property owners can borrow funds to cover the cost of energy improvements, including installing solar PV systems. Loan totals cannot exceed 10 percent of a property owner’s appraised real property value or the cost of improvements.

Solar, Wind & Biomass Energy Systems Exemption:

Improvements made to homes for the purpose of energy conservation, such as installing a solar VP system, are property tax exempt to the extent that this improvement would raise the home’s value.

Home Performance with ENERGY STAR:

A Smart Energy Loan is available for those who wish to improve their homes’ energy efficiency levels using solar PV systems. The loan has a term of 5, 10, or 15 years, and the terms might be limited by the system’s useful life. The On-bill Recovery Loan is also available with the same terms. Loan amounts range from $1,500 to $25,000.

NY-Sun Commercial/Industrial Incentive Program:

Incentives are provided for the installation of new grid-connected solar PV systems over 200 kW. The incentives are based on MW blocks, with the maximum incentive being half of the full cost of the solar PV system.

POLICIES

Clean Energy Fund (CEF):

CEF features a broad minimum 10-year goal, up through 2025, to achieve a total of 88 MW of renewable energy, including energy produced by solar PV systems.

Interconnection Standards:

Solar PV systems that are 50 kW or smaller are eligible for a straightforward and expedited six-step process for interconnection. Any system from 50 kW to 300 kW must use an 11-step interconnection process.

Net Metering:

Customers of the major utilities in the state that are owned by investors can take advantage of net metering if they generate excess energy from solar PV systems. System size limitations include 25 kW for a residential system and 2 MW for a commercial system.

Solar Easements & Local Option Solar Rights Laws:

New York law permits solar easements to be created. This ensures that a property owner can enjoy uninterrupted access to the sun for their solar PV systems.

System Benefits Charge:

This charge in New York supports multiple areas, including energy efficiency and energy assistance for low-income individuals. This program is supported by investor-owned electric utility customers, whose bills feature a surcharge.

None for residential specifically

None for commercial specifically

TAX CREDITS

None for residential/commercial specifically

Residential Solar Tax Credit:

A personal income tax credit is available in New York that can be applied to residential solar PV equipment expenditures. The credit is equal to a quarter of the equipment’s cost as well as the installation. The maximum incentive is $5,000 for systems, and a system must be 25 kW maximum in order to be eligible.

None for commercial specifically

TAX EXEMPTIONS

Solar Sales Tax Exemption:

The sale and the installation costs of solar PV systems are exempt from both the state sales tax and the compensating use tax.

None for residential specifically

None for commercial specifically

Solar Panel Installers & Contractors in New York

There is no shortage of options for residents interested in solar panel installation. Currently, there are 91 companies offering installation services in the state. Before choosing a contractor, homeowners should do their research. In addition to finding out about a contractor’s previous installation experience, it is helpful to know whether they include a roof inspection, and how they will handle billing with the current utility. The following list of New York solar companies will give you a head start.

CNY Solar, Inc.

CNY Solar, Inc. installs solar power systems ranging from 1 kW to 77 kW for residential and commercial projects.

Where it operatesCanastota; serves Central New York

Year of opening2009

ETM Solar Works

ETM Solar Works installs solar electric systems and solar hot water heaters in residential and commercial buildings and repairs existing solar energy systems.

Where it operatesEndicott

Year of opening1988

Eastern Energy Systems, Inc.

Eastern Energy Systems, Inc. installs solar photovoltaic and other alternative energy technologies for residential, commercial, municipal, agricultural and industrial projects.

Where it operatesMattituck

Year of opening2006

Freedom Solar

Freedom Solar designs and installs custom renewable energy systems for homes and businesses.

Where it operatesOrchard Park

Year of opening1971

Great Brook Solar NRG, LLC

Great Brook Solar provides residential photovoltaic solar, solar hot water, geothermal and hydroelectric systems installations to its customers.

Where it operatesNew Berlin; serves New Berlin, Syracuse and Upstate New York

Year of opening1978

Harvest Power

Harvest Power handles solar panel installations for commercial properties, residential properties and non-profit organizations.

Where it operatesBay Shore; serves Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island

Year of opening2008

High Peaks Solar

High Peaks Solar is an owner-operated company that designs, installs and services photovoltaic systems for a variety of uses, including solar well pumps, mobile trailer units and off-grid systems.

Where it operatesWynantskill

Year of opening2011

New York State Solar Farm, Inc.

New York State Solar Farm designs, installs and services photovoltaic systems for residences and commercial properties.

Where it operatesGardiner

Year of opening2007

Northern Lights Energy

With more than 20 years of experience, this fully insured solar electric design and installation firm can get solar on your home or business and help you take full advantage of all incentives and rebates.

Where it operatesSt. Lawrence County

Year of opening1996

Quixotic Systems, Inc.

Quixotic Systems provides solar energy design and installation services for residential and commercial buildings and non-profits.

Where it operatesNew York City

Year of opening1999

Solar Liberty Energy Systems, Inc.

Solar Liberty installs solar systems for homes, schools, businesses and non-profit organizations.

Where it operatesBuffalo; serves Upstate New York

Year of opening2003

Staten Island Renewable Energy

Staten Island Renewable Energy specializes in designing, installing, monitoring and retrofitting solar energy systems.

Where it operatesStaten Island; serves New York City

Year of opening2009

Sunshine Plus Solar

Sunshine Plus Solar provides solar system design and installation services for residential and commercial clients.

Where it operatesSmithtown; serves Long Island and the Tri-State area

Year of opening1982

Taitem Engineering, P.C.

Taitem Engineering supplies solar PV system design and installation services for residential and commercial customers.

Where it operatesIthaca

Year of opening1989

Other Solar Resources

Here is a list of resources to help you investigate solar energy in New York.

Alliance for Clean Energy New York-Solar

Learn about different approaches to solar power and find links to New York solar incentives.

DSIRE Incentives Database – New York

Find New York solar energy initiatives from a public clearinghouse.

Installing Solar in NYC

The City University of New York provides links to a residential solar energy incentive guide and North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP)-accredited providers.

New York Solar Energy Industries Association

Track solar energy statistics and webinars from the only New York State solar industry advocacy group.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Explore solar energy technologies and stay up-to-date on New York State solar energy incentives.

NY-Sun Solar Electric Program

Search for contractors and learn about financing options for the NY-Sun Incentive Program.