If you’re interested in getting solar panels, living in New York is a good place to be. This is because the state has some of the best solar incentives in the U.S.

These incentives, combined with high electricity costs (that are going even higher), make New York one of the states where solar makes the most financial sense for residents.

Besides helping you save on electricity costs, solar also increases your home value. So there are a lot of reasons that solar can make your bank account very happy. But the money side of things is just part of the potential upside to going solar.

There are some other big benefits to getting solar panels as well. Solar panels let you power your home with green energy, so it’s great for the environment.

And then there is the chance to be energy independent. If you get batteries with your solar installation, you can keep the lights (and electronics, appliances and more) on even if the power goes out in your area.

With an aging power grid and increasingly violent weather, many areas are having more frequent and longer-lasting power outages. Being able to generate your own power during these times can be huge.

All these reasons are why you’re seeing more and more solar panels pop up on homes and businesses in New York.

Solar Panels New York: A Guide for N.Y. Homeowners

Even with all the upsides of solar, it doesn’t make sense for every N.Y. homeowner. There are a lot of factors that go into whether or not solar is a good choice for you and your home. You have to balance the costs, savings, incentives and a whole lot more.

Here you’ll find an overview of the current landscape for solar in the Empire State. You’ll learn about the average costs for solar in N.Y., the available incentives, tax credits and more so you can get a better idea of whether solar panels are worth it for your situation.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in New York?

Let’s start with costs. There are a bunch of factors that go into determining how much solar panels will cost a New York homeowner. Because of this, the cost estimates you see online can be all over the place.

When it comes to how much solar will end up costing you, just some of the factors that go into pricing include:

  • Your energy usage
  • What your goals are for solar (going completely off-grid vs. reducing your electric bill)
  • The solar incentives, tax credits, etc. you are eligible for
  • The type of solar panels you get
  • How many solar panels you need / can fit on your roof
  • If you get a battery backup system with the solar panels
  • If you buy or lease your panels and, if you lease, the financing options available

With all that said, let’s look at some numbers in New York.

The average cost for the average size solar home installation in New York ranges between $11,500 to $16,000. So figure an average of around $14,000 or so before factoring in your incentives.

On a per watt basis, the costs are between $2.60 and $3.15, with an average of around $2.90/W.

These costs are a bit lower than the national average. And, with what you can potentially save through incentives, what you end up paying out-of-pocket may end up being way less.

Again, depending on your situation, your costs may vary quite a bit from the above. The best way to get a better idea of what solar will cost you is to use an online estimator tool like this one here.

New York Solar Incentives

As we said at the beginning, New York has some of the best solar incentives in the country right now. Here’s a rundown of the available incentives for New York homeowners.

Megawatt Block Incentive Structure

This is a direct incentive for solar energy under the NY-Sun Initiative. Those who are eligible get an upfront dollars-per-watt rebate for solar. You can get up to $1000 per kilowatt of solar installed under this program. It is available for both commercial and residential installations.

How much you get depends on how much solar energy is being produced in your area. The more solar that gets installed, the lower the incentives are. In fact, it is no longer available on Long Island because of the amount of solar already installed there.

Net Metering / VDER

If you are not familiar with net metering, it’s where the electric utility company pays you for any excess solar energy you produce and send back to the grid. Basically, if you generate more power than you use, you get paid for it!

In New York, it’s been the case that utility companies have to offer net metering to those with residential solar installations up to 25kW.

However, the program is changing in the state to where it’s phasing in what’s called a Value of Distributed Energy Resource (VDER). This program makes it, so solar owners don’t get credit at the full retail rate of electricity as they do with net metering.

Instead, they get a “Value Stack Tariff” rate. This VST is a variable rate that depends on factors like time and location.

You can still do net metering in N.Y. but have to choose between it and VDER. If you choose net metering, you’ll now have to pay a monthly Customer Benefits Charge (CBC). It’s a fee added to your monthly electric bill that non-solar customers are already paying on their bill. The justification for the fee is that it’s just leveling the playing field and making solar customers help fund public benefit programs.

This CBC is not a huge deal, however. The total cost for it should be well under $100/year. This means it will not have that big of an impact on your ROI for solar.

For net metering, any money your solar panels generate becomes excess credits stored in a “credit bank” you can use to pay for electricity at times when you use more electricity than your panels generate. Net metering is available through top N.Y. utilities like Con-Ed, National Grid and PSE&G.

New York State Solar Equipment Tax Credit

This tax credit reduces your state tax payments up to $5,000 or 25% off your total solar expenses (whichever is lower). It’s a great program that is even available to homeowners who lease their panels.

For a solar installation that costs $15,000, your state tax credit will be $3,750. Also, you can roll the credit over if you don’t have a big enough tax bill to get the entire credit the first year you’re eligible.

Property Tax Exemption

Solar panels increase the value of your home. One potential downside of that is that the more your home is worth, the more you’ll pay in property taxes.

The good news is that you won’t have to worry about that for 15 years. This is because of a property tax exemption in New York. This exemption means that any increase in home value due to solar will not result in higher property taxes for 15 years.

Sales Tax Exemption

The New York state sales tax rate is 4%. Which, when you’re talking about spending $11,000+, can add quite a bit to your costs. Here, again, you don’t have to worry about that. This is because solar panels are exempt from sales tax in the state.

Additional Solar Incentives in New York

There are a number of other incentives you can potentially get in New York. Some are based on where you live. You can check out a list of current local incentives here.

NY-Sun also provides incentives directly to solar contractors and developers. These are used to help offset the cost for N.Y. homeowners to go solar. You will need to work with a NYSERDA-approved contractor in order to see if you qualify for any NY-Sun incentives.

Affordable Solar

There is also the Affordable Solar program which provides additional incentives to some homeowners. The program increases the incentive amount for households that earn less than 80% of the median income in the area.

It will require that you do some “minor, low-cost energy efficiency upgrades” to your home. If you are eligible, this can result in $1000s in upfront savings for an average size system.

New York Solar Loans

The state of New York is also behind some good loan options to help residents finance their solar projects. These loans offer lower interest rates to lower-income N.Y. homeowners. Loans range from $1,500 to $25,000. Loan terms are either 5, 10 or 15 years.

There are On-Bill Recovery Loans (added as a line item to your utility bill each month), Smart Energy Loans (loan payments made directly to NYSERDA’s loan servicer) and Companion Loans (for those who need additional financing for a loan above $25,000) available.

Got All That?

There’s a lot of information to take in here. And it’s made more confusing by more of these incentive programs running out of money as more people go solar. Your best bet is to contact a few local installers to get a personalized quote on solar costs based on the incentives you are eligible for. And you can easily do that in less than a minute by visiting this site.

Federal Solar Rebate For New York Residents

One last incentive to mention here. And that is the federal solar tax credit. It is a 30% tax credit that is good off all the costs that go into getting solar panels for your home. That includes the panels themselves, labor, any additional equipment and even batteries.

The tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar credit on your federal taxes. If your installation costs $15,000, that means your tax credit will add up to $4,500. If for the tax year your panels are installed, you owe $5,000 in taxes, once you take the credit into account, you’ll only owe $500.

If you don’t owe that much in taxes, the credit can roll over for up to 5 years.

Are Solar Panels Worth It in New York?

There are a lot of good reasons to go solar in New York.

High electricity rates, amazing solar incentives, being energy independent and the environmental benefits all make solar very attractive for many.

And then there are the potential cost savings. Estimates are that the average New York homeowner can save between $25,000 and $35,000 over 20 years by switching to solar. And it takes less than 10  years, on average, for the savings to pay for the system.

What all this means is that if you own a single-family home in New York, spend more than $100 a month on electricity and have a roof that gets a decent amount of direct sunlight, there is a really good chance that going solar makes a heck of a lot of sense for you!

But solar doesn’t make sense for everyone. The amount of electricity you use, the amount of sunlight your roof gets, the direction your roof faces, the angle of your roof, the number of solar panels you can get and more all go into whether solar makes sense for you or not.

The only way to see…

  • what your actual upfront costs are
  • exactly what incentives you qualify for and how much they can save you
  • if you qualify for $0 down solar panels
  • how much you can save
  • the financing options available to you

… is to get a custom solar cost and savings estimate for a trusted, local solar installer.

We recommend you get at least one of your estimates through UnderstandSolar.com, the #1 solar advisor in the U.S. They’ve been in business since 2014 and have worked with over 400,000 to help them go solar. Over the years, they have built relationships with the largest, most trusted solar installers in New York.

They can help you understand your options, get an accurate estimate for solar (and batteries) and find exclusive local deals on solar.

Getting a solar savings estimate through UndestandSolar.com takes less than a minute. Just click on the link below, answer a few questions, and you’ll see how much you can expect to save with solar.

Click Here To Calculate Your Savings and Find Exclusive Deals on Solar

Why Now Is The Ideal Time To Go Solar (And One That May Not Last Much Longer)

If you even think there’s a chance that solar could make sense for you, it’s better to act sooner rather than later. Because, right now, we look to be in an amazing window of opportunity to save that might not last much longer. This is mainly due to…

  • Tariffs on imported panels, material shortages, supply chain issues and a huge worldwide demand for panels are expected to send prices for panels soaring.
  • We mentioned earlier how many incentive programs in New York are already ending or lowering their incentives as solar capacity goals are met. This trend is only going to continue. So it’s best to take advantage of these offers while you can because they may not be around much longer!
  • The 26% federal tax credit drops to 22% in 2023 and then it goes away completely in 2024. This credit can mean thousands in savings for those who take advantage of it. (This is no longer the case with the August 2022 passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which increased the federal tax credit and extended it for 10 years.)
  • The power grid only seems to be getting shakier and the extreme weather more extreme. This means that more frequent and prolonged power outages only seem more likely. For those who get solar + battery storage, you can be energy independent and make sure you have power even if there’s an outage in your area.
  • The longer you hold off, the more you’ll miss out on saving money on your electric bill each month.

With the potential to save $25,000 – $35,000 in New York, it’s at least worth getting a savings estimate to see if solar makes sense for you. Get in on the incentives and low prices while you still can!

You might get an estimate and decide that solar doesn’t make sense for you. But, by getting an estimate, you’ll at least do that knowing you made an informed decision.

Get started here to see about exclusive local deals on solar in New York and find out if going solar makes sense for your home.