How to Use the Solar Calculator
The best way to learn about local rebates, your home’s energy potential, and your eventual return on investment is to use our ModSun Solar Cost Calculator (see above). Enter your home address in the box, then click Check My Roof. You’ll get an instant picture of your roof’s productivity, your average energy expenses, and installation costs in your area—whether you decide to buy or loan. We’ll also provide system size recommendations and information about rebates and incentives you may be eligible for. Just select More Info under each purchasing strategy to learn more, and then connect with a solar pro.
Solar Panels Buyer’s Guide for Albany, New York
The following solar Buyer’s Guide will introduce you to solar energy, outline the required steps for installing solar energy in your home or business, and discuss purchase options as well as money saving rebates and incentive programs available to Albany residents.
Albany Climate and what it Means for Solar Panels on Your Home
Albany is the capital of New York State and is part of an area referred to as the Capital District. As of 2014, 97,892 people lived in Albany. Its climate produces temperatures in mid July averaging about 83 degrees. Winter temperatures can be unforgiving with temperatures averaging 17 degrees in mid January. Albany receives approximately 36 inches of rain over 126 days with measurable rainfall. During the winter, residents can expect yearly snowfall to total 35.6 inches. Although the average number of sunny days in Albany falls below the national average of 205, its still viable for solar energy production with 182 sunny days per year.
Important First Steps Before Going Solar in Albany
The path to clean solar power that is less expensive than traditional, dirty electricity produced by the big power companies takes careful thought, planning and sound decision-making before starting the project. Outlined below are the important first steps every property owner should take before embarking on this project.
- Home Energy Audit
- Solar Panel Location
- Structural and Roofing Considerations
- Solar Panel Configurations
- Solar Hot Water
- Cash or Credit
- New York Rebates and Incentives
- Federal Energy Tax Credit
- Additional Resources
Energy Audit of your Albany Home
It would be beneficial to conduct a home energy audit and address areas that need attention before installing solar panels. The overall envelope of your home is an important part of energy conservation. A tight, energy efficient home reduces energy loss and saves you money on your utility bills. In addition, some rebate and incentive programs might require an audit 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. You can apply online.
Solar Panel Location on your Albany Home
Solar panels require access to the sun. Shaded areas are not a viable option for solar panel placement. Most solar panel systems are mounted on rooftops but can be installed on the ground when space limitations are not a concern.
Roof and Structural Considerations in Albany
Many municipalities require a structural inspection of your property to verify it can support the weight of the panels. In addition, you should also hire a local roofing contractor to perform a comprehensive inspection of your roof before installing solar panels. It would not make much sense to install solar panels on a deteriorating roof with a short life span.
Hire a Solar Contractor in Albany
It is to your advantage to hire a certified state solar contractor to lead the way in your solar panel installation. Your contractor is the single most important element of the project. They are responsible for assessing, sizing, designing and obtaining the necessary permits as well as controlling the quality of the installation.
Solar Panel Configurations in Albany
The three most common solar panel configurations are grid-tie in, grid-tie in with battery backup and stand-alone systems utilizing battery banks for power storage.
Solar Water Heaters in Albany
Solar water heaters use solar energy to generate hot water for domestic use. Suitable for most climates, these efficient systems use energy from the sun to heat water. Once installed, most systems can supply 100% of residential hot water needs.
Solar Panel Permitting in Albany
Albany residents wishing to install solar panels must submit their plans to a review board before a permit is issued. You can contact the Albany Building & Regulatory Compliance, 200 Johnson Blvd, First Floor, Suite #1, Albany, NY 12210 for more information. Office hours are 8:30 A.M. – 5:00 P.M, Monday through Friday by phone at (518) 434-5165 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cash or Credit
- Home equity loans or “HELOCS” are a common method homeowners use to pay for their solar power systems.
- Through a power purchase agreement or PPA, a third party company maintains and retains ownership of the solar energy system. Homeowners choosing this option pay for only the electricity they use. Since they do not own the system outright, they are not responsible for maintenance and/or upkeep.
- A solar lease is an attractive option for homeowners and businesses alike who don’t want to incur the upfront costs and maintenance of a new system. They simply rent the panels while reaping the benefits from the electricity they produce.
- Important note, since property owners who lease or enter into a power purchase agreement do not own the equipment, they are not entitled to any rebates or tax incentives.
Albany, New York Solar Rebates and Incentives
Several tax incentives are available in the state of New York and city of Albany 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 $5000 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 Solar Tax Incentives in Albany
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.