Summary of Incentives for New York Solar Energy Systems

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) was created over 40 years ago in response to the oil market issues. Over time it has become the source for objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers to save money and use more renewable energy.

More recently with the help of the governor’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV) strategy, the Department of Public Services (DPS) has funded programs, some of which facilitate more residential solar energy system installations. And in 2016 the state legislature adopted the New York Clean Energy Standard, which solidifies a commitment where 50% of New York State’s electricity should be provided from renewable energy sources by 2030. This is referred to as the “50 by 30” program. Solar power installations benefit from and are coordinated through the NY-Sun Incentives Program.

NYSERDA is the regularly funded public benefit corporation that achieves its goals by working with stakeholders throughout New York including residents, business owners, developers, community leaders, local government officials, university researchers, utility representatives, investors, and entrepreneurs. It is governed by a 13 member board, and has a clearly stated mission – “To advance innovative energy solutions in ways that improve New York’s economy and environment.”  It is the primary body responsible for budgets, programs planning, and managing policies and procedures.


NY-Sun is an individual program. It was established by the governor with specific goals that support solar projects for commercial and industrial companies, homes, multifamily buildings, small commercial, not-for-profit and municipal buildings. Through nearly $1 billion in funding, the program has a target of stimulating 3 GW of installed solar power capacity by 2023. It will not only focus on the traditional residential and commercial opportunities, but also low to moderate income residents, renters, and others who are not suited for rooftop solar energy systems.

Incentives for New York Homeowners Buying Solar Energy Systems

There are state and federal incentives aimed at making the solar power investment more manageable for a steadily growing number of homeowners across New York. Combine this with decreasing costs and increasing efficiency and reliability, and you get the current result: A nearly three-quarter of a billion dollar industry exceeding 800 MW in capacity.

Four areas of benefit and relief make solar energy system ownership possible for many:

Rebates for New York Solar Installations

Although labeled a “credit”, in practice this program works more like a rebate. A taxpayer may claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for a solar energy system for the tax year in which the system was “placed in service.”  If the federal tax credit exceeds tax liability, the excess amount may be carried forward to the succeeding taxable year. Because the benefit is not received immediately the impact is more one of a rebate.

With a program extension granted at the end of 2015, the ITC allows the taxpayer to reduce their tax burden by a total of 30% by December 31, 2019.

The state of New York allows a person income tax credit for residential solar energy systems up to 25 kW in capacity. It is capped at $5,000 for solar-energy systems placed in service on or after September 1, 2006.

Credits for New York Solar Installations

The NY-Sun Incentive Program establishes incentives based on a tiered structure across three utility regions within the state. These tiers, called Megawatt (MW) Blocks, allocate MW targets to specific regions of the State and breaks those MW targets into blocks to which incentives are assigned. Depending on the region, there are from 4 blocks to 9 blocks within the given region. The incentives available within each MW Block are scheduled to step down over time as certain targets are met. So a first block may be satisfied when 14 MW have been compensated, and a second block might be satisfied when the next 6 MW have been compensated. As the block counts increase (as more MW have been compensated), the incentive $/Watt decreases following the MW Blocks table.

The regions are divided into the areas served by Con Edison, areas served by PSEG Long Island, and for the rest of the state – “Upstate”, or New York Power Authority (NYPA).

This is an example of the MW Blocks table for the Con Edison customer base, as of December 30, 2015.

Block Megawatts Incentive/Watt
1 14 $1.00
2 6 $0.90
3 9 $0.80
4 12 $0.70
Etc. …. ….
Net Metering refers to a state established program in which your solar energy system is connected to your local power grid, thus allowing for any surplus power to be transmitted to the network at any time. A bi-directional meter will track both the transmitted surplus as well as the electricity supplied and purchased from the utility. While the meters are similar for the different utilities, the management of any excess energy you may generate is credited according to each utility’s rules.

For Con Edison customers:  If your renewable system generates more electricity than you consume, your net consumption is negative. Your Con Edison bill will reflect some administrative charges (i.e. the basic service charge), but you will not be charged for any kilowatt-hours. Any excess kilowatt-hours from your renewable system will be carried forward and applied by Con Edison as a Net Meter Energy Credit for future billing periods.

Con Edison will reconcile any excess energy once a year by multiplying any excess kilowatt-hours you have remaining (your Net Meter Energy Credit) by the Avoided Cost of Energy. That dollar value will be applied to your account as a monetary credit.

Financing for Solar Purchases

Over the past decade, or more, the solar industry has demonstrated value and reliability for residential scale solar energy systems. This has attracted commercial and private investment interest at record levels. As a result, there is a fast growing market with increasing options for financing solar purchases. Ross Solar Group engages with many of the market leaders, such as Sungage Financial, and we work routinely with state sponsored programs. The goal is to provide every customer with the best options in making every solar energy solution affordable to deliver greater energy independence. To do this we must constantly assess what is available to give the best offering.

Contact Us to get more details about financing, options, and programs. Whether you may need a no money down plan, flexible term plan (5 years, 10 years, etc.), or simply want to find the best rates, we can provide you with a portfolio of choices.

The NY Green Bank, a division of NYSERDA, is a state-sponsored, specialized financial entity working with the private sector to increase investments into New York’s clean energy markets.

NY Green Bank programs are bolstered by the governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy. NYSERDA is constantly working with private sector partners and financial institutions to create investments, incentive programs, and financing solutions. Specifically for homeowners interested in installing a solar energy system, the state offers financial assistance through NY Green Bank initiatives. At times these programs offer features not available on the open commercial market. Examples include the following:

  • Low interest rates that never escalate
  • No money down
  • Quick and instant approvals
  • Flexible terms
  • No prepayment penalties

Because these programs are sometimes time limited, we invite you to Contact Us to learn more about what is available for you today.

Solarize Programs

The state of New York has established Solarize campaigns in response to the NY-Sun Community Solar NY program. These Solarize campaigns make solar easier and more affordable through community-driven initiatives and are an essential component of Reforming the Energy Vision (REV). Participants benefit from a tiered pricing structure that provides increased savings to homeowners as more people in one community go solar.

All programs are managed through NYSERDA, which has helped administer the program across 7 regions covering all of New York. As of January 2016, the organization reports nearly 1,000 installations have been completed approaching 9,000 kW of new solar power capacity.

Ross Solar Group is proud to particpate in the Solarize Westchester campaigns. The Solarize Campaigns by Solarize Westchester are programs designed to encourage the adoption of residential and small commercial solar photovoltaic (PV) systems by deploying a coordinated education, marketing and outreach effort, combined with a tiered pricing structure that provides increased savings to homeowners as more people in one community go solar.

Solarize Bedford-Mt. Kisco.  Click to see the details about this past program.

Solarize Ossining-Briarcliff.  Click to see the details about this past program.