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 in Buffalo, New York
The state of New York has been investing heavily in the economy of Buffalo. The Buffalo Billion Initiative is Governor Cuomo’s multi-year redevelopment plan to revitalize the city. One of the most exciting programs within this initiative is the development of a SolarCity plant. SolarCity, based in Silicon Valley, is one of the country’s leading supplier of solar panels. The state of New York is investing $750 million to build and equip this facility, and SolarCity has committed to spending $5 billion on Buffalo operations over the next ten years.
The Buffalo facility will be making a new type of photovoltaic technology. The solar cells created here will use crystalline silicon—the material used in conventional cells—with a thin film of another form of silicon and a layer of a semiconductor oxide. This hybrid solar-cell is designed to be more efficient than standard silicon cells in converting sunlight to electricity, as well as relatively cheap to make. The state has said the 1.2 million-square-foot SolarCity factory, which is scheduled to open in early 2016, will create 5,000 jobs, with 3,000 of them in western New York.
The plan to build this massive facility in Buffalo comes at a time when demand for solar in New York is booming. From 2011 to 2014, solar energy systems in the state have grown 300% (solar energy systems throughout the nation increased 146% during the same time period).
The demand for solar energy in New York is borne out of several factors including: prohibitively expensive energy costs, an aging energy infrastructure that has been further compromised in recent years by severe weather and the desire to decrease the state’s environmental impact, improving air and water quality. Additionally, as of October 2015, solar energy systems are providing over 492 megawatts of power in New York State, with over 100 megawatts of solar in the queue, adding billions to the New York State economy.
Solar Rebates and Incentives for Buffalo Residents
The state government realizes that widespread solar adoption is a big win for the state. Hence, it has created numerous incentive programs to help decrease the cost of new solar systems for Buffalo residents, and to motivate local utilities to create incentives for their customers to adopt solar systems.
- The state offers a tax credit for residential business owners who install solar energy systems up to 25 kilowatts. Residents can receive a credit for 25% of the installed cost of the solar energy system of $5,000, whichever amount is less. Remember to consult with a tax professional though, as the federal government does consider this credit as taxable income.
- Your solar energy system is exempt from sales and compensating use tax. The exemption applies to solar-energy systems that use solar radiation to produce energy that provides heating, cooling, hot water, and/or electricity. At this point, the exemption does not apply to solar pool heating or other recreational applications.
- The NY-Sun Initiative provides a Megawatt Block Incentive Structure for installing solar electric systems through 3 regions: Con Edison, PSEG Long Island, and the balance of the state. Each region and sector (commercial and residential) is assigned a series of megawatt targets at certain incentive levels, referred to as “blocks.” Once the megawatt target for that block is reached, the block is closed and a new block, with a new target and a lower incentive level, begins. If you’re interested in this incentive, you should act quickly as once all of the blocks for a particular region and sector are filled, these incentives will no longer be offered. In general, incentives for a typical residential or commercial system cover approximately 20-30% of the installed cost of a PV system.
All New Yorkers are eligible for a federal tax credit for up to 30% of the cost of their solar installation. Consult a tax professional to maximize your financial incentives, as some state and local incentives may decrease the amount of the federal tax credit for which you are eligible.