2019 Solar Incentives in New York
Incentives are dropping dramatically over the coming months and years. Now is the time to go solar.
Solar incentives are always changing. We keep track of the latest in solar policy — that’s our job — and we’ll help you access the best discounts possible.
At SunCommon, our mission is to tear down the barriers to clean energy. And sometimes that means demystifying the complexities of solar. Here, we’ll walk through the available solar incentives so you can understand them and see when they’re scheduled to phase out.
What incentives are available for home solar?
The biggest savings on solar for your home comes from three sources:
The Federal Tax Credit
Write off 30% of the cost of your solar on your taxes. Decreases in 2020.
NYSERDA Solar Rebate
Get reimbursed by the state $0.35 per solar watt you install. It adds up!
The NY State Tax Credit
Write 25% of your total system value off on your taxes. Capped at $5,000.
The pie chart shows your purchase of a home solar system as a whole – and how much you can recoup on that purchase from the federal and state incentives.
1. The federal tax credit
The federal tax credit, also called the federal income tax credit, remains at 30% for all systems installed in 2019. When this big refund check shows up, in your mailbox or direct deposit, it’s happy-dance time.
While this sizable credit has been a huge help for solar consumers, it is contingent upon a family’s tax liability. Basically, your tax refund is limited to what you pay in taxes over the course of a given year. The good news is, you may be able to use the credit over multiple years. We recommend speaking with your tax professional to see if you’ll be able to benefit from this tax credit.
The current phase-out schedule of the federal tax credit is:
|For systems installed in||Incentive amount|
|2022||0% – no more credit|
2. The NYSERDA rebate
This is a block grant — basically a monetary reward for going solar — that decreases over time, as more solar capacity is installed in the area. Currently, the incentive is .35 cents per watt and will decrease to .20 once remaining capacity is reached. The most money NYSERDA will give you for a normal residential project (no special NYSERDA programs involved) is $8,750.
3. The state tax credit
After taking the NYSERDA block grant into account, you can write off 25% of your total solar system value or $5,000 (whichever comes first) on your taxes. If you don’t have enough tax appetite to write off the whole sum, New York will let you roll the remaining credit to the next cycle.
Now is the time to go solar.
Solar incentives are on the decline. Take advantage of them!
The sooner you go solar, the more you save. Tax credits, rebates, and incentives can cover a really significant portion of the cost of going solar.
Bonus: New York Real Property Tax Exemption
If you’re going solar, you’re providing a net benefit to the grid, the state, and the planet as a whole. You’re also increasing the value of your property, because, hey, who wouldn’t want to live in a house with a negative electric bill? Normally, improvements like this would mean that you have to pay higher property taxes. Luckily, the state of New York thinks that the benefits of solar outweigh their need for your tax dollars.
The state provides a 15-year real property tax exemption for properties located in New York State with renewable energy systems as long as the jurisdiction the system is located in doesn’t opt-out. See if your jurisdiction has opted out here. (This law only applies to the value that a solar electric system adds to the overall value of the property. It does not mean that landowners with an installed renewable energy system are exempt from all property tax!)
Affordable Solar Program
Program available for low to moderate income level household (LMI) defined as a household with gross income at 80% or less of the median county income (80% AMI). For example, a 4-person household in Dutchess County bringing in less than $73,568 would qualify.
With this program an eligible household can double their NYSERDA Rebate up to 6 kW! That’s a pretty big incentive. The map to figure out eligibility is located here.