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Solar Buying Guide for New York City
As our country grows, so does its demand for electricity. Meeting its future energy needs will rely heavily on renewable energy and solar power. It would not be far fetched to predict that in the near future, most rooftops and/or large swaths of land would host an array of solar panels. Panels that produce cheap, clean electricity could meet the power demands of our country.
The solar buying guide found below is designed to introduce Schenectady residents to solar energy, outline the required steps for installing solar energy in your home or business, discuss purchase options, as well as money saving rebates and incentive programs available in the area.
New York Climate For Solar Energy
Schenectady is located in the Albany metropolitan area in Eastern New York and is home to 65,921 people as of 2014. Summer temperatures in mid July average around 83 degrees. Winter temperatures can average approximately 13.8 degrees in mid January. Measureable precipitation occurs approximately 125 days of the year with annual rainfall totaling 37.8 inches and 61.5 inches of snow. Annually, Schenectady residents can expect to enjoy 177 sunny days, which makes it a viable location for solar energy.
Important Steps Schenectady Residents Should Consider
Obtaining solar power for your home makes good business sense, as solar power is cheaper and cleaner versus the dirty, fossil fuel power supplied by traditional utility companies. Starting a solar panel project requires careful thought and planning to achieve the most efficient results. Outlined below are the important steps every property owner should take and investigate before embarking on this project.
Home Energy Audits in Schenectady
The overall envelop of your home is an important part of energy conservation. A well-sealed, energy efficient home conserves energy by reducing energy loss. Lowering your monthly energy use reduces utility costs and the money you save can help pay for your solar panels. In addition, some rebate and incentive programs might require it before you can participate in their programs. Most New York homeowners can receive a free or discounted home energy assessment through the Home Performance/Assisted Home Performance with Energy Star Program. Apply online at by clicking here.
Schenectady Solar Panel Location
Most often, solar panels are mounted on the rooftops of residential and business properties. When space is available, it is also possible to install the panels on the ground. Both locations — rooftop or ground — require the panels to be located in areas with maximum sun exposure. The location requires careful planning to avoid shaded areas from existing structures, trees and other obstacles.
Roof and Structural Considerations
It would be beneficial to hire a local roofing contractor to inspect the condition of the roof on the building before installing a solar panel system. It would not make much sense to install solar panels on a deteriorating roof with a short life span. In addition, many municipalities require a structural inspection of the rooftop to verify it can support the weight of the panels before installation begins.
Hiring a Solar Contractor
Hiring a solar contractor is recommended versus installing the solar panels yourself. The contractor has the experience and hands on knowledge to size, design, pull the necessary permits, and install the system correctly which will maximize your energy efficiency and investment. While a solar panel system installed by a professional will raise your property value, the same can’t be said for a poorly or DIY installed system that can lower your property value. Keep in mind that your solar contractor is your go-to-guy and is the single most important element of the project.
Solar Hot Water Systems
Schenectady residents can also utilize its sunny days by installing a solar water heater to produce free, domestic hot water. These efficient systems use solar energy — heat — from the sun to heat water. Most solar water heating systems incorporate a roof-mounted solar panel and storage tank that connects to the home’s plumbing system. Once installed, most systems can supply 100% of residential hot water needs. Contact a local solar or plumbing contractor to learn more.
NY Solar Rebates and Incentives
Several tax incentives are available in the state of New York designed to encourage solar energy use. Incentives for residential applications include:
- A state income tax credit equal to 25 percent of the cost of the system not to exceed $5,000 for grid connected and net metered residential solar electric and solar thermal systems that also applies for multifamily residences.
- Sales tax exemptions for passive solar space heat, solar space heat, photovoltaic, solar water heat and related equipment installed in residential and multifamily buildings.
- Subject to local option, a 15-year real property tax exemption for the solar and other renewable energy systems. This measure is to prevent the installation of solar energy equipment from increasing property taxes.
Federal Energy Tax Credit
The Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, extended through 2016, allows taxpayers to claim a credit of 30 percent of qualified expenditures for systems that serve as a residence by said taxpayer. You can learn about additional government cost saving, energy efficient programs by visiting www.energy.gov.
If you reside in New York City, you are well aware that the cost of living is higher than in rural cities and states. People flock in NYC to pursue long-time dreams or just because they want to live in The Big Apple. Well, who doesn’t? If you’re going to continue living there, you need to know how to lower your expenses, which you can start by cutting your utility bills. One of the most talked-about ways now is going solar.
Here are the common questions New Yorkers ask if they are interested in installing a new solar energy system for their home.
Can I access solar energy if I am a renter?
A good number of the NYC population are renters. It is quite a challenge to do presently. But according to experts, housing companies and owners are keen on creating a shared solar group that includes renters in having access to use solar energy.
How does that work? In a study conducted, a building owner can partner with an energy that can manage the solar energy system on the owner’s property. Residents of that building can apply and pay a certain fee to the energy developer to have rights for credits on their utility bills.
Is a new roof necessary?
Let’s say you are an NYC homeowner, and you are interested in having solar panels installed on your roof. The question is if building a new roof needed to accommodate the panels, right? Most solar installers favor a roof that was built or replaced within about five years. It is because the structure will still be strong enough to support the weight of the solar energy system, including the panels and the rack.
What happens if a panel gets damaged?
Most solar manufacturers offer at least twenty-five years worth of warranty to their buyers. Your solar installer can assess the panel and repair it according to the terms of the warranty.
Are there available payment options offered in NYC?
Yes, of course. An NYC resident can apply for a solar or home upgrade loan from banks or a private financing company. The NY State’s Energy Research and Development Authority also offers lending and financing alternatives, which you can pay through your monthly bill. You can fully recover your solar energy investment in an average of six years.
The entire concept seems simple, but you might encounter some challenges before you can say that you are entirely using solar energy to run your home. It is best to consult with the experts to help you pass these hurdles. Professional solar installers can do the measurements and calculations and assist you in purchasing and setting up your system. Use our list above to find the best home solar installers in New York.