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Solar Resources

New York: A Guide to Residential Solar Energy

In early 2019, New York state governor Andre Cuomo unveiled an ambitious plan to push the state into new clean energy heights, aiming to become completely carbon-neutral by 2040.

“This plan can bring massive economic and environmental benefits to communities throughout the state, spurring many new, well-paying jobs and cleaner air,” said Sean Gallagher, vice president of state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in a statement about the plan. And while jobs and development are great for the state, it’s been seeing dramatically positive growth in other aspects.

An April 2019 report from real estate site Zillow has found that homes with solar panels sell for 4.1 percent more than they would without them.

“Of the metropolitan areas included in the analysis, homeowners who stand to gain the most from solar panel installation include those New York,” reported CNN’s MONEY site, adding that the state saw a “5.4 percent, or a $23,989 premium on a $440,400 home.”

As of the end of 2018, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) ranked the state 10th in the country — 1.4 percent of the state’s energy comes from solar. Additionally, SEIA ranks New York sixth in the nation in projecting its growth over the next five years.

The solar panel systems and installation market in New York has exploded since 2014. Chart via the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Indeed, increased competition in the state since 2014—and the nature of the market on a national scale—means residents are primed for home value increases if they install solar panels in New York. And when it comes to home value, researchers project the value of a home increases up to $15,000 on average, according to the Berkley Lab, one of the federal government’s national renewable energy laboratories. That doesn’t even take into consideration the massive savings solar paneling affords homeowners—or seasonal price fluctuations that make winter a possibly perfect time for your solar home improvement project.

Like every other state, New York has a unique set of incentives, benefits, and challenges when it comes to investing in solar panels for houses. Read our residential guide to understand what you should know as a homeowner as you look for the best contractor to install solar panel systems for yet another resource the Empire State is famously wealthy in.

A well-informed and reliable contractor will go over each detail of your installation with you, from expected savings to increases in home value. At Modernize, we frequently speak to homeowners about their home improvement projects. In our recent interviews, 90 percent of homeowners requested a checklist to help them find and vet contractors. Modernize now offers homeowners a free, digital Contractor Checklist as a simple, step-by-step guide to assist with your solar panel project.

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Endicott, NY: Solar Energy Success Stories

In bad years, the solar panels on Terry Woodnorth’s 90-year-old home supply two-thirds of the electricity he needs. In a good year, it covers 96 percent of what he needs.

“This may be the only Endicott-Johnson home running on solar energy,” Woodnorth says about the virtual neutrality his electricity needs have reached. “This has to be one of the most energy-efficient houses around.” While he still pays a $16 service charge to his electricity provider, he told USA Today that his bills are “a mere fraction of what they were when he bought the house more than 30 years ago, even with the large demands of heating, cooling and his Honda Clarity plug-in electric hybrid car.”

Indeed, solar panels have a sizeable effect on utility bills. New York residents can expect to save nearly close to $17,000 over 20 years. This data serves as guidance for your journey to home improvement. Use it during your conversation with contractors in your area. Ask for this level of detail in your estimates and if jargon or complex wording seems confusing, ask for clarification.

A trusted contractor will be glad for the opportunity to explain what everything means and, more importantly, what it specifically means to you. When it comes to New York’s solar energy, existing financial incentives (and policy) only make it more lucrative for you to sustainably increase your property value.

New York Solar Panels: Incentives, Rebates, and Other Savings

There are currently nearly more than 100 incentives for homeowners to increase the value of their property by installing solar panels for houses in New York. Find details about each program at the state’s Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE).

Solid contractors installing solar panels in New York will be able to provide a list of applicable costs savings measures and help you navigate applying for and getting the most out of them. Learn enough to have a foundational understanding of these programs to best talk to your contractor about them once you’ve vetted and chosen one.

Residential Solar Tax Credit

Installing solar paneling for homes will increase property value for homeowners who have invested in their houses, and New York is investing right back in them. Each year, New York homeowners can get up to a $5,000 credit per residence, available to taxpayers who install solar panels for their houses. More specifically, you get 25 percent back on your purchase in the form of a tax credit, up to $5,000.

Find all the details at DSIRE’s profile for the program.

Other New York-specific solar energy programs include:

Of course, you want to get the most out of local programs as well as federal ones, like the temporary Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, which applies to up to 30 percent of your installation. It is important to note that this federal credit is for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019. Solar Energy International reports that a typical five-kilowatt solar system installation in September 2018 would’ve dropped from $15,428 to $10,800 after the rebate is applied—but keep in mind its value is dropping and the credit could be completely gone by the early 2020s. Consult your contractor about this and other available credits and incentives to ensure your investment in the long-term value of your property is as easy on your current assets as possible.

That’s why you’ll want to find a contractor you can trust—a local professional who can get the job done and assist you with navigating local policy and regulation. The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your solar panel project is in good hands.

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