By 2025, New York aims to have enough solar energy to power one million homes. The ambitious goal is part of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, passed in 2019, designed to fight climate change. In turn, solar energy has grown in popularity across New York in recent years as residents are increasingly looking for ways to minimize their carbon footprints while decreasing their energy bills.
New York: the best state for solar tax incentives
Although solar panels can help homeowners save money on their energy bills in the long run, the initial installation cost can be pretty steep. Fortunately, solar tax incentives exist to help homeowners offset the cost of solar panel installation. The federal solar tax credit, in particular, covers 26% of the installation cost. Moreover, out of all states, New York ranks best for solar tax incentives. For example, New York’s solar energy system equipment credit is available to people who either purchase a new solar system or lease one; it allows residents to deduct up to 25% ($5,000 maximum) of their total solar energy expenses from their taxes. Alternatively, the NY-Sun Megawatt Block incentive lets residents claim a cash rebate for their (commercial or residential) solar systems. There’s also the statewide net metering program, which allows New York residents to feed any solar generated energy that goes unused back into the power grid. In return, they receive credits on utility bills.
Queens and Staten Island lead the solar-power charge
Since most solar panels are designed for installation on sloped roofs (which helps maximize absorption of the sun’s rays), it’s understandable why Queens and Staten Island have the highest numbers of solar panel adoptions across New York: these areas have plenty of sloped roofs, usually on single-family houses. Queens currently has around 7,000 solar-powered homes in total with the majority of them single-family houses, while Staten Island is a close runner up. In areas like Brooklyn and Manhattan, on the other hand, where flat-roof row houses and apartment buildings are commonplace, solar panel adoption has been slower. Manhattan has around 500 residential installations, while Brooklyn has 3,100.
Cutting-edge solar technology
Fortunately, cutting-edge solar technology is helping improve solar adoption across New York. For example, Brooklyn SolarWorks has created an innovative canopy solar system, which tilts panels that are mounted as high as nine feet in the air (this also leaves enough room for firefighters to navigate in an emergency as per New York’s building codes). They’ve already installed plenty of systems in Park Slope, Prospect Heights, and Clinton Hill, as well as Bedford-Stuyvesant, Red Hook, and Bushwick. 1st Light Energy, SunPower, and Kamtech Restoration Corp are also offering similar systems. Solar networks, which connect solar panels across various locations to residential buildings, are also helping make solar accessible to low-income residents.
Solar adoption is becoming increasingly popular across New York. Generous solar tax incentives combined with cutting-edge technology is helping New Yorkers more easily make the switch to clean energy.