Is Solar Energy Worth it in New York in 2017?

new york solar energy graphic

There’s no question that New York state is headed in the right direction. Find out why now is such an exciting time for sunshine in the big apple.

Are you considering a solar energy system for your home or business in New York, but want to know more about the costs and benefits before making a decision? In this article we look at the reasons why going solar is a good idea in New York, and also examine the various incentives and financing options that may be available to you if you are a New York resident.

How much do solar panels cost in New York in 2017?

The average solar panel system size in the U.S. is 5 kilowatts, so to get a range for the average price of solar in New York we examined average prices for 5kW systems after tax rebates. The current price range is between $9,791 – $14,356 in Floridafar below the national average for cost of solar of $12,500, once the additional state incentives are included.

New York state already a leader in solar energy

New York is no slouch when it comes to solar – it ranks in the top 10 solar states in terms of total installed solar capacity (see our infographic below). And even bigger things are in store for solar’s future in the Empire State: With the introduction of its progressive Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceedings, New York state is making strides to turn itself into a solar powerhouse.

Additionally, the NY Sun Initiative (which will eventually be brought under the REV policy umbrella) has set a goal of 3 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity to be installed in the state by 2023 – that’s more than eight times the 338 megawatts (MW) currently installed. How is it going to reach this goal? By encouraging market growth making sure that solar systems continue to be a financially attractive option for homes and businesses across the state.





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New York solar incentives

More and more New Yorkers are discovering that solar makes sense for them. Here are some of the reasons why:

  1. Solar helps New York residents save money on their electricity bills: Utility electricity rates in NY are among the highest in the nation, even as solar is becoming more affordable. This means that solar will help you reduce your power bills – whether you purchase your solar panel system (with cash or with a solar loan) or go solar with a solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA).
  2. Solar panels are a great investment in New York: In fact, New York City was recently ranked #1 on a list of the top cities for investing in solar in the US. Purchasing your solar system would be a great way to put your money to work: In New York, the average solar power system will pay for itself in 7 years. But even if you know that a cash purchase is not a realistic option for you, you could consider a $0-down solar loan, which offers attractive returns with little or no up-front cost.
  3. Solar panels will increase the value of your property: If you purchase your system outright or finance it with a loan, your system will increase the value of your property by about 3%. More and more studies demonstrate that this is the case. A recent study by the Berkley National Laboratory confirms that the nation-wide trend also applies to New York homes.
  4. Federal and New York state subsidies make solar a sweet deal: On top of the federal government’s 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar (which is set to expire at the end of 2016), New York also has a robust incentive framework of its own, including the Megawatt Block Incentive, a solar net-metering policy that ensures that your utility company pays you a fair rate for your extra solar power, and a state tax credit of up to $5,000.
  5. Solar helps you cut your greenhouse gas emissions in New York: By going solar you will also reduce your carbon emissions. Utility electricity in New York comes primarily from burning natural gas (as per the graph below). Natural gas, while ‘cleaner’ than coal, is still a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. (Read more about the environmental benefits of going solar.)
New York State net power generation

A breakdown of electricity generation in New York State by source for the year 2013. Note that solar energy barely registers – so far.

Are you interested in learning more about the benefits of going solar? Check out our comprehensive resource on the topic: Why go solar?

The 3 best ways to go solar in New York

Going solar is a great way for New York residents to save money, as we’ve noted above. And thanks to the state’s growing rooftop solar market, there are likely to be lots of solar installation companies competing for your business, no matter what part of the state you live in.

There are three main ways that you can go solar in New York. All of these options are available in New York State through various solar installation and financing companies. They are:

  1. Purchase your pv system with cash
  2. Purchase your solar array by financing it with a solar loan
  3. Sign up for a third party-owned solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA) arrangement

Additionally, if you do not have a roof of your own (e.g. because you rent your house or live in an apartment block), joining a community solar garden is now a popular option for solar shoppers in New York thanks to Governor Cuomo’s efforts!

Interested in going solar in New York? We can help you compare options. Get an instant estimate and join the New York Solar Marketplace to learn about what’s available in your part of the state.

New York solar facts and data by energy sage

6 thoughts on “Is Solar Energy Worth it in New York in 2017?

  1. Tony

    I have always thought solar was a great adjunct to our energy dependency, I just wish there were less conspicuous panels.I don’t want half of my roof covered. If there were a way to streamline panels with natural features of the house construction, more home owners would be open to the idea.

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Goldman

      Tesla is manufacturing solar roof materials that include photovoltaic cells. It’s not clear when they will be commercially available, but they are both very efficient and beautiful. What is as yet unknown is the total cost. One thing is clear, the light weight and strength of the materials means significantly lower shipping costs to the job site.

      Reply
      1. Dan

        It’s better to strike now and not wait. the cost for Tesla’s Solar roof could be astronomical. Weighing this against the fact that rebates are currently perfectly aligned with tax credits and panels at an ALL TIME low, make waiting for a mythical piece of technology downright foolish. Trust me, its much better to have some panels on your roof and start saving now than to ride the unpredictable utility train to financial ruin.

        Reply
  2. Tiffany

    The sun has always been there for billions of years, but it is only lately that we have thought of harnessing its heat and energy into powering our homes and appliances. Solar power not only saves money, but also saves the environment from pollution caused by huge power plants. Yes, solar panels are not really cheap, but just think of the money you would be saving from your electricity bills for years to come.

    Reply
  3. AlexYackery

    Without a doubt solar panels are worth every single penny you invest in installing them. The best thing is these help you make use of free and renewable source. Now when you purchase your system outright or finance it with a loan, it adds up to the value of your property by about 3%. This is really amazing!

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Is NYC Ready for a Solar Revolution? | BCB Property Management

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