New York solar panels: The complete guide in 2024

Data updated Jun 18, 2024

Written by: Emily Walker

Interested in going solar? You'll need to install a 11.29 kW solar panel system to cover the average electric bill in New York, which will cost you about $23,843 after the federal tax credit.

Cost for an average system in New York


Out of pocket cost, cash
$34,062
Federal tax credit (30%)
- $10,219
Price post tax credit
$23,843

20-year savings $30,925
Payback period 8 Years
Electricity offset 93%
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As long as your federal tax bill is high enough, you can take advantage of the federal investment tax credit (ITC).

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Going solar in New York

Skyscrapers and solar panels don't usually go hand in hand, but you'll find plenty of both in New York. 

With high electricity prices and some of the best solar incentives in the country, going solar in New York is a no-brainer. If you have the right roof, solar makes sense in almost every scenario: It will save you thousands of dollars over time. 

Here's what you should know about going solar in the Empire State.

Cost

How much do solar panels cost in New York?

Solar panels will save you a lot of money over time, but the upfront costs aren't cheap. The average New York homeowner needs a 11.29 kW solar panel system to cover their electricity needs, which comes out to $34,062 before incentives. Prices range from $28,953 to $39,171, but after the federal tax credit, that drops by 30%, and New York has some great local incentives as well.

While this may sound high, it will pay off in New York. That's why over 51,000 New York homeowners have used EnergySage to receive and compare quotes for solar installations. You can expect to earn back your initial solar investment through electricity savings in about 8.29 years, while most systems last at least 25 years. You'll often see this number referenced as your solar payback period.

There are a few ways to finance your solar panel system so you don't have to provide all that money upfront. 

  • Cash purchase: You'll own the system and pay for it upfront. This provides the best long-term savings. 

  • Solar loan: This allows you to retain ownership of your system while owing little to no money upfront. Solar loans aren't all created equal. If you have access to subsidized clean energy loans through local incentive programs, that's usually your best bet. A home equity loan or a personal loan are often your next best options—private solar loans typically come with higher interest rates or upfront fees.

  • Solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA): A third-party company owns your system and either leases you the solar panels (solar lease) or allows you to purchase the electricity they generate (PPA). These generally provide the lowest savings and generate the most negative press about solar. If you choose this financing option, read the fine print: You can get trapped in them for longer than you'd like.

Solar panels on a house

Incentives

What are the best solar rebates and incentives in New York?

Incentives help bring solar's price tag down considerably in New York. Here are the major ones to know about:

Incentive
Average savings in New York
Description

Residential Clean Energy Tax Credit, formerly the federal investment tax credit (ITC)

$10,219

Lowers your solar panel system's cost by 30%

The Megawatt Block Incentive Structure

$2,000

Lowers your solar panel system's cost by $200/kW for most households (as of March 2024)

New York Solar Energy System Equipment Credit

$5,000

Lowers your solar panel system's cost by 25%, up to $5,000

New York solar sales tax exemption

4% of system cost

You don't need to pay any sales tax on new solar panel systems in New York, saving at least 4% of your system costs.

New York solar property tax exemption

1.23% of system value annually on average

If you use solar energy as a source of power, for 15 years you won't need to pay a tax on the value your solar panels add to your property.

Is net metering available in New York?

In some states, you'll earn bill credits from your utility company when your solar panel system generates excess electricity and sends it to the grid. This incentive is known as net metering—basically a solar buyback program—and makes it so you will owe very little, or even nothing, on your electric bills with solar panels.

All major utilities in New York offer net metering, though the state is transitioning to a new Value of Distributed Energy Resource (VDER) tariff. So make sure to cash in on net metering while it's still available.

Learn more about New York's net metering policy

A house with rooftop solar panels connected to the grid

Equipment

Equipment quality

Each year, solar panels get more and more efficient—that is, they produce more power per square foot. As of 2024, the most popular solar panels can produce about 400 watts of electricity when they’re in full sunlight. If you want to make the most of your roof’s solar potential, get panels with at least that much power output.  

You should also make sure to select a solar inverter setup that makes sense for your roof’s layout. 

And if you want or need a solar battery, be sure to pick one that can integrate cleanly with that inverter. 

Premium equipment can come with a high price tag, but it will often save you more money in the long run. The best equipment tends to have the best warranty terms, often guaranteed to 25 years (sometimes even 40!), so you’re covered in case you need repairs or replacements. The highest-quality panels also degrade more slowly, so they’ll maintain more of their power output further into the future. 

See our list of the best solar panels

resources

Top solar resources for New York

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