New York

Distributed Generation

Program Type Net Metering
Technologies Photovoltaics, Wind
Amount The distributed generation rule applies to residential systems up to 25 kW in size
Required Documentation Interconnection agreement and application filed with customer’s utility
Official Web Site

New York’s investor-owned utilities must offer net metering on a first-come, first-served basis to residents that install a photovoltaic (PV) or other renewable generation system up to 25 kW in size (farms and businesses may net meter systems up to 2 megawatts in size).

The state passed a law that went into effect June 2011 that allows agricultural customers (not residential) to participate remote net-metering, meaning customers who generate an overabundance of solar power can sell credits to other customers in the same utility region and load zone.

Publicly held utilities do not have to offer net metering, but some, like the Long Island Power Authority, offer programs similar to those offered by Investor-owned companies.

Utilities will continue to sign net metered PV systems until net-metered PV, biogas systems, micro-combined heat and power, and fuel cell systems together make up one percent of their 2005 energy demand. Utilities may choose to allow a higher percentage of net-metered systems into their energy mix.

In most net-metered systems, net excess generation in a month is credited toward the customer/generator’s next monthly bill at the utility’s retail rate. At the end of the year, customers that produced more energy than they used are reimbursed at the utility’s avoided cost rate.

The owner also will install a protective device that will unhook the system from the grid if the utility’s generators fail.


Personal Income Tax Credit

Program Type Income Tax Credit
Technologies Photovoltaics, Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, and Fuel Cells
Amount Up to $5,000 for solar-energy systems, and 25 percent of system cost
Required Documentation Form IT-255 Claim for Solar Energy System Equipment Credit
Official Web Site

Home and residential property owners in New York may qualify for this tax credit for installing a photovoltaic (PV) or solar energy system, including solar space heating or solar water heating systems on their property. To qualify for the credit, a PV system must grid-tied and net metered. For homes, this is limited to a 10 kW system. For condominiums and homeowner’s associations purchasing a system, size is limited to 50 kW systems.

The credit is allowed for the year the system is installed. In the case of condominiums and homeowner's associations, the credit is divvied up between the building’s participating residents, according to New York tax code. If the credit is in excess of the tax due that year, it may be carried over for a maximum of five years.

Covered costs under the program include payments made for materials, labor costs for assembly and installation, designs and plans related to the construction and installation of the system, as well as architectural and engineering services. If grant money was used to make the purchases, they are not eligible for the tax credit.

Power Naturally Incentive Program

Program Type Rebate
Technologies Photovoltaics
Amount $1.50 per watt DC up to 40 percent of cost after tax credits. Total can't exceed dollar limits depending on the type of installation
Required Documentation All documentation must be submitted by a state registered installer
Official Web Site

NYSERDA through its Power Naturally program offers a first-come-first serve photovoltaic (PV) rebate to install PV systems on homes and buildings. The rebates are available to property owners who pay an RPS fee on their electric bills.

The program pays up to 40 percent of the installed cost of a solar photovoltaic system after available tax credits up to $10,500 for residential systems, $75,000 for nonresidential and privately-owned systems and up to $37,500 for government nonprofits, government entities and schools.

Beginning June 30, 2011 all installers must be NABCEP certified in order to qualify for the program. The program web site (listed above) provides a list of more than 125 fully eligible installers and many others with provisional approval.

The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy Efficiency (DSIRE) said that the program is funded at $2 million per month, through 2015. So, as of August 2010, roughly $104 million of funding for PV installations remains. However, the Power Naturally site said on August 3, 2010, that the program was closed. It was unclear when the site was last updated. But it is wise to submit applications as early in the month as possible to ensure the system is covered under the program.

To qualify for the incentive, the system must be installed by an eligible installer, and the system must be grid-tied. The installer will submit all application materials on behalf of the system owner. However, eligible PV installers may only submit for incentives on up to 225 kW of PV installations in any given month. After they reach that level, they are not eligible to apply for more installation incentives until the next month.

Under the program, incentives are paid directly to the system installer, in two increments. The first payment, of 75 percent, is made to the installer upon delivery of all materials to the installation site. The 25 percent remainder of the incentive is paid upon completion of the installation after all paperwork has been submitted and the site was inspected and approved by NYSERDA or its representatives. All the rebates are given directly to the installer but are passed on 100 percent to the customer.

Rebates may not exceed 50 percent of the system’s costs. However, the actual rebate may be less depending on system location, tilt and more. According to NYSERDA, Energy Star labeled homes and building integrated PV systems may be eligible for an additional $.50 per watt rebate which may not exceed 50 percent of the total installed system costs.

The size of the PV system is limited to 110 percent of the home’s existing energy use, based on previous electricity bills, or 5 kW. To qualify for the full amount of the rebate, the system cannot have losses of more than 20 percent for a traditional PV installation. For building-integrated PV systems, a system cannot lose more than 40 percent. If loss levels exceed those thresholds, the amount of the rebate is adjusted accordingly. These factors, including shading by trees or neighboring buildings, the orientation and tilt of the system, (i.e., faces east or west, or lies flat on a flat roof), must be analyzed by the installer and are assessed during the review process.

New York Rebates and Incentives Summary

New YorkThe Empire state and home of the Big Apple, New York is not just one of the most populous states in the country it's also blessed with vast, lush wildlands. The state borders two great lakes – Ontario and Erie. And it’s becoming a hotbed for the solar industry.

New York is making significant strides toward a more sustainable energy future, which will rely on renewable sources like solar power.

While the state only gets about 4 kilowatt hours of sunlight a day and systems won’t produce as much as they do in states like Arizona, other factors are making it one of the fastest-growing solar markets in the country.

For one, energy costs a lot in New York – about 16 cents per kilowatt hour, which is 20 to 50 percent more than it costs in a lot of other parts of the U.S. That makes distributed generation power sources like solar that can cut a homeowner’s utility bills more attractive. It also means any investment will pay for itself more rapidly.

On top of that intrinsic incentive, New York has established an aggressive state rebates program for solar, which will refund $1,750 per installed kilowatt hour up to $12,500 or 40 percent of the installed cost of your solar project. Solar is exempt from property tax and sales tax. And home and business owners who install solar qualify for tax credits valued at 25 percent of the installed solar project.

The state’s 22.5 percent renewable energy portfolio standard for 2020 with 2 percent required to come from solar also encourages utility companies to pony up additional incentives and rebates.

In addition to all of that, the New York legislature is debating a solar jobs bill that would require the state to install 2,200 megawatts of solar by 2022, enough to power 400,000 homes. The idea behind the bill, which has received broad support, would be to generate thousands of jobs in the solar industry and attract new energy manufacturing and installation companies to the state.

Statewide enthusiasm about solar has led to some high-profile projects like the Empire State Building’s recent $20 million investment in energy retrofits to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certification for an existing structure.



New York Solar Power Financial Incentives

Financial Incentives

Corporate Tax Credit

Green Building Incentive

Industry Recruitment/Support

PACE Financing

Performance-Based Incentive

Personal Tax Credit

Property Tax Incentive

Sales Tax Incentive

State Grant Program

State Loan Program

State Rebate Program

Utility Rebate Program

Rules, Regulations & Policies

Appliance/Equipment Efficiency Standards

Building Energy Code

Energy Efficiency Resource Standard

Energy Standards for Public Buildings

Generation Disclosure

Green Power Purchasing


Net Metering

Public Benefits Fund

Renewables Portfolio Standard

Solar/Wind Access Policy

Solar/Wind Permitting Standards

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Weatherization Assistance Program

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