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 Rochester, NY
If you live in Rochester, New York, now is the perfect time to invest in solar. Advances in technology, as well as the growth of solar manufacturers and installers have caused the price of solar technology to drop 70% since 1998. Additionally, eco-friendly policies at the state and local level have created tremendous financial incentives to help make your transition to solar as affordable as possible.
What are the Benefits of Installing a Solar Energy System?
New York has taken such an ambitious stance on renewable energy because it recognizes the benefits that solar power can bring to New York including: increased jobs, decreased energy costs, less air and water pollution, and reliable energy in the face of an antiquated power system that is placed at risk by severe weather systems like Hurricane Sandy. But how can the move to a solar energy system affect you directly?
- Solar energy isn’t subject to price hikes like fossil-fuel based energy, meaning your energy costs are predictable and stable. Most of Rochester pays Rochester Gas and Electric an average of 13 cents per kwh. National Grid customers pay over 15 cents per hour. This past winter prices peaked to over 16 cents per kwh just for supply not to mention the utility’s delivery cost.
- Adding solar features to your home, solar panels in particular, can add $15,000 to your home value. Even better, if you add solar panels to your home or business in Rochester, you don’t have to worry about the increased value of your home increasing your property taxes. Property value increases based on solar installations are exempt for fifteen years.
- When it comes to decreasing your environmental impact, solar is one of the best methods. Traditional electrical companies produce an estimated 70% of their electricity from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. The cost of processing these materials and transporting them also takes a significant toll on the environment, while also driving up their prices. It is estimated that electricity generation causes 37% all atmospheric CO2, one of the leading causes of global warming. When you switch to solar power you are reducing your fossil-fuel based electricity consumption, as well as the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. The decision to move to solar will reduce your family’s (or business’s) carbon footprint and help to prevent local air and water pollution.
- The savings on your energy bill will be significant. Just a 7 kW solar electric system located on a south-facing roof can typically offset 70-80% of a home’s electricity needs.
Rebates and Incentives for Rochester Residents
Rochester residents have numerous federal, state, and local incentives available to help make the transition to a solar energy system as affordable as possible. A licensed solar installer should be able to advise you of all of the incentive programs available to you in order to maximize your investment.
- All Rochester residents and business owners are eligible for a tax credit when they install a solar energy system (up to 25 kilowatts). Residents can receive a credit for 25% of the cost of the installed system or $5,000, whichever amount is less. It’s important to consult with an attorney or tax professional though, as the federal government will consider this credit as taxable income.
- When you purchase a solar energy system, your system will be 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.
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.
What does Net Metering mean for Rochester Residents?
Most utilities in New York are set up on a net metering system. In a net metered solar energy system, all of the energy produced by your solar panels is sent to a device called an inverter.The inverter changes the electricity from direct current to alternating current, which is used to power all home appliances in the United States. The inverter then modulates its output to match the frequency to the utility’s electricity. The inverter then directs the power to your home’s load center (breaker box), where it can be distributed to where ever you need it.
Any additional solar power above and beyond your demand is sent back through a bi-directional meter. The meter keeps track of power both coming into your home from the utility and how much electricity is being sent back to the grid. Essentially, net metering allows you to “bank” the excess energy you produce for use when your system is not generating enough electricity to meet your needs.
Is Rochester Sunny Enough for a Solar Electric System to Work Well?
One of the biggest questions that homeowners have when considering investing in a solar energy system in Rochester, is whether or not the city has enough sunny days to make their systems cost effective. Though the winter months may seem dreary, Rochester has an average of 165 sunny days a year. During the summer, your system will bank more electricity than you could possibly use. This allows you to bank power as credits that you can utilize during those cloudier days and months when your system isn’t getting enough sunlight to meet your energy needs.