New York solar panels: local pricing and data

Over 21,000 homeowners in New York have used EnergySage to receive & compare solar panel installation quotes!

Updated 6/8/2019

Solar Data Explorer:

Out-of-pocket cost  
Net 20-year savings  
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Solar installation costs do not include the 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit or local incentives.

Save money by installing solar panels in NY.

High electricity costs and one of the biggest solar tax credits in the U.S. mean that the Empire State is one of the best places in the country for solar.

See the cost of solar in NY cities and towns

$12,622 – $17,078

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What solar panels should I install in New York?

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For property owners, you now can customize your solar panels, inverters, racking systems, and batteries, as well as the general aesthetic of the installation. This customizability has made it important for solar consumers to understand these various factors. For example, the best solar panels available may have premium efficiencies and warranties, but will typically be more costly. However, depending on the size of the installation, you’ll need to determine whether high-efficiency solar panels that can produce more electricity are worthwhile. Also, your appetite for risk can help determine which solar warranties best fit your needs. These are just a few of the many factors to consider when selecting solar panel equipment.

How much energy can I get from solar in New York?

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Aside from the power output of the solar equipment you choose to install, the amount of energy you generate with solar panels in New York is directly related to the amount of sunlight that hits your panels. While sunlight is not always plentiful in the Northeast, New York residents should feel fortunate that the state offers very fair financial incentives for going solar.

There are additional factors that determine how much solar electricity you can produce. These include shading, panel orientation, and panel angle, which are all used to calculate your total production estimate. a prediction of how much energy your solar installation will produce over time. This evaluation offers a clear estimate of how much energy your solar installation will produce. You can see how much solar panels can save you based on factors like geographic location and shading by using the EnergySage Solar Calculator.

New York solar incentives

New York is becoming known for its great solar incentives and programs, which are considered some of the best in the country. Learn more about why solar panels are such a great investment in New York.

Learn about solar incentives in NY

What rebates and incentives are there in New York for solar?

The federal Investment Tax Credit has been one of the most reliable and impactful incentives for solar across the U.S. This solar incentive allows you to deduct 30 percent of the total system cost from your federal taxes. For example, a solar energy system installation that costs $15,000 out of pocket will qualify for a tax deduction of $4,500. This advantageous incentive lasts until the end of 2019 - the tax credit amount steps down to 26 percent for 2020 before falling to 22 percent for 2021. The federal ITC is eliminated for residential solar installations after 2021, but commercial solar energy system owners can still deduct 10 percent of a commercial solar system cost from their taxes in 2022 and beyond.

Besides the federal ITC, New York has additional incentives for going solar that are dependent on your area and utility company. Of note are the Megawatt Block Incentive, net metering availability, NY-Sun Initiative, Reforming the Energy Vision. Additionally, New York State has some of the best tax credits and exemptions that make purchases for solar panels or community solar a great deal. To learn more about New York’s best financial incentives for solar, check out our complete overview of the state’s best solar incentives.

Solar panel installations in New York

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True Cost of Solar Guide™ for New York

Download EnergySage’s DIY worksheet to better understand what solar should cost in your state

Don’t get sold on the hype! Find out what solar should actually cost before you talk to your first sales rep. This PDF worksheet will walk you through the simple calculations you can make to determine what size solar PV system you need, and approximately how much it should cost.

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History of solar policy in New York

While New York would not seem like an ideal region for solar as compared to sunnier regions elsewhere in the country, the Empire State has crafted a collection of policies and incentives that have resulted in one of the strongest solar markets in the nation. As of 2018, New York ranks 10th in SEIA’s national rankings with a total installed solar electricity capacity of over 1,600 megawatts (MW). Even more notable is that in five years, SEIA projects that New York will rank 6th, thus hinting at the enormous potential there is for future development in the state.

The first solar policy enacted in the Empire state was the Solar Property Tax Exemption in 1977, which relieved homeowners of the additional property taxes that come with a solar installation. New York revised this tax exemption in 1991 to allow local governments to opt out of this exemption if they wished, as well as to place an expiration date of 2025 for people to apply into the program. Another set of early solar policies in New York were Solar Easements & Rights Laws, which protect a homeowner’s right to install and generate electricity with solar panels without any external restrictions.

The next round of major solar policies were enacted in a group during the late 1990s. The first of these was the Systems Benefits Charge in 1996, which uses a non-bypassable charge on the state’s ratepayers to finance a public benefits fund that invests in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and low-income assistance initiatives. Today the fund is actively managed by NYSERDA and has over the years invested a sizeable $2.48 billion from 1998 to 2016 for the purpose of trying to obtain a competitive, clean energy market.

In 1997, New York approved the Residential Solar Tax Credit, which has since remained an essential financial incentive for New Yorkers. The policy reduces homeowner’s state tax payments by up to $5,000 or up to 25 percent off the total solar energy expenses. As of a recent 2012 amendment, residents don’t even need to purchase an installation to apply for the credit, as they can claim it through a solar lease or Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), making solar energy much more attractive throughout the state.

The last implemented solar policy during this time period was net metering, which also passed in 1997. Throughout the nation, net metering programs have been crucial for the solar energy industry by allowing residents to store surplus net energy in the electric grid and receive compensation for it on their energy bill. In New York, utility companies are required to provide net metering services for residential systems up to 25 kW and generally credit net excess generation (NEG) at the retail rate, although excess generation reconciled annually is compensated by the lower avoided cost rate. Fortunately, a 2011 provision grants ratepayers a one-time selection on when the pay period ends in order to avoid cashing out at an unfavorable time, like when there is a large amount of NEG being collected at a lower rate.

While all of these policies have been crucial to the development of solar energy in New York, the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) program has been its most influential driver of growth to this point. Importantly, state energy requirements have been probably the most significant policy for clean energy development across the nation. After being established in 2004, New York’s RPS originally required utilities to supply 25 percent of their retail electricity sales from renewable energy by 2013. Policymakers soon realized they would be able to meet this goal and increased the required levels in 2010 to be 30 percent by 2015. The state achieved the revised goal as well, prompting New York to implement an entirely new RPS program in 2016 known as the Clean Energy Standard mandating 50 percent of its electricity to be sourced by renewables by 2030.

Part of the reason that New York has been so successful in achieving its RPS goals is because of the additional financial incentives they have added since 2004. For example, in 2005 the state decided to alleviate the sales and installation taxes for purchasing solar systems through the Solar Sales Tax Exemption. Additionally, policymakers instituted the NY-Sun PV Incentive Program in 2010, which provides through the Megawatt Block Initiative direct and generous dollars per watt ($/W) rebate for both residential and commercial systems. For residential systems, rebates vary according to the utility, but some are as high as $0.40/W, which is one of the best offerings in the nation. Furthermore, NY-Sun provides an Affordable Solar option for those who are eligible and offers double the standard incentive amount for systems up to 6 kilowatts (kW).