Solar Panel Cost in New York [2022 Local Savings Guide]
In this guide to the average cost of solar panels n New York, you’ll learn:
- How much do solar panels cost in New York?
- How can you save money when converting to solar in New York?
- Do solar panel systems in New York require ongoing maintenance?
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in New York?
The average solar system in New York costs around $13,423 after the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC). Before the credit is applied, the total for solar equipment is closer to $19,175.
These totals assume you’ll pay the average per-watt price in New York of $2.95 and that the typical 6.5 kilowatt (kW) system typically required in the Empire State will suit your home and energy needs.
Your total price may fall above or below this average based on different factors, like the size system you need to offset your energy costs. Most New York property owners pay between $8,260 and $20,650 to go solar, so your total will likely be in this range — but we get that’s a big range.
The table below provides a quick look at average conversion prices based on different system sizes and home square footage.
|Size of Your Solar Power System||Typical Cost in New York (Before Tax Credit)||Cost After Federal Tax Credit||Average Home Size the System Can Support|
|4 kW||$11,800||$8,260||1,100 sq. ft.|
|5 kW||$14,750||$10,325||1,300 sq. ft.|
|6 kW||$17,700||$12,390||1,500 sq. ft.|
|7 kW||$20,650||$14,455||1,700 sq. ft.|
|8 kW||$23,600||$16,520||1,900 sq. ft.|
|9 kW||$26,550||$18,585||2,100 sq. ft.|
|10 kW||$29,500||$20,650||2,300 sq. ft.|
How Does the Current Cost of Solar in New York Compare to the National Average?
The average system price in New York — $19,175 before the tax credit — is below the national average, which hovers around $23,940. Although the typical price per watt in New York is well above average at $2.94 — compared to $2.66 — the average system size required to offset monthly electric bills is well below average for the country.
Since New Yorkers need a 6.5 kW system on average — compared to the 9 kW system average in the U.S. — system costs in the Empire State tend to be a few thousand dollars cheaper in NY than in other states.
How Are Solar Costs Trending in New York?
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the average cost of solar equipment in New York has decreased by 53% over the past decade.1 This decrease is due, in large part, to advancements in solar technology and improvements made to the manufacturing process to streamline equipment production.
Based on recent trends and the growing popularity of solar in the U.S., it is likely this decline in system costs will continue.
While photovoltaic (PV) equipment has become less expensive in New York, energy rates have risen. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, electricity rates in New York have increased by 19.71% over the past three years.2 This figure is slightly below the 20.14% energy rate increase across the U.S. over the same time.
Despite rate hikes being less severe in New York than in the rest of the country, the increase is still steep, and the trend of rising energy prices is likely to continue.
When you consider the decreasing cost of converting to solar energy, along with the rising cost of sticking with fossil fuels, you can see how going solar can help offset your energy bills in the Empire State.
How Much Can You Save by Going Solar in New York Today?
Installing a solar energy system in New York is expected to save you an average of $24,387 on energy bills over the lifespan of your panels, and that’s after the panels offset enough utility bills to pay for themselves. For comparison, the expected energy burden of sticking with fossil fuels like natural gas and oil is around $43,562 in your area.
Not only do solar panel systems help most New York homeowners save money on utility costs, but they also help you avoid rising energy prices over time. In reality, your savings will likely be even higher, as the above numbers are based on current electricity costs.
An important factor that can affect your savings is the payment method you use to acquire your panels. Below, we’ll provide information on the three primary payment options — cash purchase, solar loan and lease agreements — and explain how each can impact your total system cost.
|Solar Financing Option||Initial Cost||Payback Timeline||Est 25-Year Savings|
|Cash||$13,423 (on average, after the federal credit is applied)||10 years*||24,387*|
|Loan||Often $0 (choosing to put money down will lower your overall costs and can drop your interest rate)||13 years*||$19,000*|
|Lease||Usually $0||N/A (you never own your system, so there isn’t a payback period)||$6,000|
*These are conservative estimates intended to represent base-level averages. In most cases, customers can see an even higher return on investment (ROI) and shorter payback timelines.
Cash Purchase of Solar System
Paying for your system in cash is the most straightforward option, but it’s also the most expensive option. Cash purchases don’t require you to find financing for your system, which means you won’t need to get your credit checked or maintain good credit for loan approval.
Buying your system in cash also means you’ll be able to take advantage of all of the solar incentives in the state. This includes the federal solar tax credit, which you can’t claim with other options, like a solar lease.
There are also quite a few financial benefits to using cash to purchase your PV panels. First, you won’t need to pay financing charges, so your all-in system price will be the lowest with a cash purchase.
Second, since you won’t be paying the average $5,000 in interest you’d pay with a loan, your panels will pay for themselves in utility bill savings the fastest. This means you’ll have the shortest panel payback timeline, which yields the greatest long-term savings.
The downside to a cash purchase, of course, is having to pay for the entire system at once. If you can’t afford to pay the average system price of $19,175 upfront, a cash purchase may be the least accessible financing option.
Below are some of the upsides and downsides of using cash to purchase your solar system in New York.
Pros of a Cash Purchase in New York
- Maximizes your return on investment
- Minimizes your solar panel payback period
- You can take full advantage of all solar incentives
- Leads to panel ownership
- Doesn’t require a credit check or good credit
- Avoids interest, which lowers your all-in system price
Cons of a Cash Purchase in New York
- Least accessible payment option due to high initial payment
A PV equipment loan allows you to offset the cost of your system over many years, often with no down payment requirement. This makes loans far more accessible than cash purchases.
To make loans even more accessible, many financiers can keep your total monthly payment below your typical current monthly energy bill, which averages around $110.47 in New York.
Loans still have the benefit of leading to panel ownership. Although the payback time is longer than with a cash purchase, you will reach a point where your panels have paid for themselves and provide a pure return on investment. Loans also let you take advantage of most solar incentive programs, like the federal credit, which can help you pay off your panels even earlier.
There are a few downsides to using a loan to finance your rooftop solar project. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll pay interest on your loan, which will increase the total amount you spend on your system over time.
The average total interest on a solar loan is around $5,000. This added line item will prolong your panel payback period. As such, you won’t see profit from your system for three years longer than you would with a cash purchase, on average.
Securing financing for your system also means you will need at least decent credit to apply and be approved for a loan.
Below, we’ll include some of the benefits and drawbacks of purchasing your PV system with a loan.
Pros of a Solar Loan in New York
- Leads to panel ownership
- Provides a solid return on investment
- Far more accessible and affordable upfront than a cash purchase
- Often requires little to no down payment
- Gives you access to all the solar incentives New York has to offer
- Total monthly payment will often be lower than your current energy bill
Cons of a Solar Loan in New York
- At least decent credit is required
- Paying interest will lead to higher system totals overall
- Interest prolongs your panel payback period
The last primary payment option for solar equipment is a lease. This is one of the only options that doesn’t lead to panel ownership. Instead, you pay a fixed monthly rate to lease the panels from a solar panel company. You then keep the energy the panels produce while they’re on your home and use it to offset your electric bills.
Leases almost always come with no down payment requirements, which makes them appealing to many aspiring solar customers. Leasing agreements also often include equipment maintenance — which you’ll see later on in this article is often not needed in New York — and typically help maintain lower monthly bills than you currently pay for energy.
But there are quite a few drawbacks to using a lease to acquire your panels. Most importantly, they lead to the lowest overall energy savings, often saving you around $6,000 in total as compared to the $24,387 you’d see with a cash purchase.
Another significant downside is that they don’t give you access to the federal tax credit. This is an average of $5,753 you’ll miss out on if you choose a lease.
Leases can also come with cancellation fees, which prevents many people from ending their agreements. This means your home might be more difficult to sell and worth less from a buyer’s perspective if you don’t cancel your lease agreement before selling your home.
Below, we’ll list the primary pros and cons of using a lease to convert to solar energy in New York.
Pros of a Solar Lease in New York
- Usually no down payment required
- You can support renewable energy without a massive investment in equipment
- Often lead to lower overall monthly energy costs
Cons of a Solar Lease in New York
- Doesn’t lead to panel ownership
- Yields the lowest energy savings over time
- Typically requires at least a decent credit score
- Can make your home less attractive to buyers
- Doesn’t let you take the federal tax credit
You can use this solar calculator to estimate your expected savings using the payment option that works best for you.
How Do You Get the Best Solar Prices in New York?
With the average cost of PV panels in New York topping $19,000 before the federal solar incentive, most property owners will look for ways to bring costs down and save on the conversion process. There are a few tips to help you do just that in the Empire State, including:
- Take advantage of the federal tax credit
- Claim the New York State solar tax credit
- Participate in net metering
- Get multiple quotes for your solar system installation
In the sections below, we’ll explain how these tips can help you save money on your system and maximize your long-term savings.
Claim the Federal Tax Credit
One of the best things you can do to bring down the effective cost of your solar power system is to take advantage of the federal tax credit. This is a benefit program provided by the federal government that’s available to all New York residents.
The credit is for 30% of your entire system value, including panels, inverters, batteries and installation costs. The credit averages around $5,753 in the Empire State. This amount gets applied to your income tax burden for the tax year in which you install your system.
It’s important to understand that this credit is not a rebate, so you’re not guaranteed to get the full credit.
For example, if you owe $5,000 in income taxes, and you get the average credit in New York of $5,753, then the amount of taxes you owe would drop to $0. If you don’t owe anything in your income taxes, you won’t be able to take any of the credit.
However, the government does let you take a partial credit and roll over the remaining amount for up to five years. Provided you expect to have an average tax burden of at least $1,000 per year over the next five years, you should be able to take the entire credit or close to it.
If you can take the credit, this is an outstanding way to drop your effective system price by 30%.
Take the New York State Tax Credit
New York is one of the few states that provides a tax credit for PV panels on the state level. This perk provides an income tax credit of up to 25% of your entire system value, or up to $5,000, whichever is lower.
Much like the federal credit, the NYS solar tax incentive gets applied to your income tax liability. If your state income taxes owed are greater than the credit amount, you’ll get the full credit. The state government also lets you take a partial credit and defer the rest of the credit for up to five tax years to help you take full advantage.
Since the typical solar energy system in New York totals around $19,175, most residents should be able to take the full $5,000, provided they owe enough taxes to take advantage of it.
In combination with the federal credit, this can bring the average system price in NY down from $19,175 to around $10,000.
Take Advantage of Net Metering
Another important incentive available to New York homeowners is net metering, also called net energy metering. This policy has historically been one of the most beneficial perks in the solar industry.
This policy ensures that you’re credited for all energy you generate with your PV equipment. If your production ever outpaces your energy consumption, you’ll earn energy credits for the excess power. You can then use those credits toward future bills if your panel production ever lags behind energy consumption, like on cloudy days or at night.
The net energy metering policy in New York is highly beneficial for solar customers, as all credits are offered at the full retail rate per kilowatt-hour (kWh). That means every kWh you generate will offset one kWh you pull from the grid.
Net energy metering helps accomplish several things:
- It maximizes the value of your panels
- It significantly increases your long-term energy savings
- It helps decrease your solar panel payback timeline
- It helps maintain low energy prices year-round
To opt into net energy metering, you’ll just need to make sure your utility company has installed a bi-directional meter on your home. If it hasn’t, you can ask for one at no cost to you. The time and energy it takes to take advantage of net energy metering are minimal, which also makes this an appealing incentive.
Get Multiple Quotes for Your System
Finally, we strongly recommend getting quotes from several different solar panel installation companies.
According to the SEIA, there are over 200 solar installation companies in New York.3 All of these installers charge different prices for solar conversion, which can include varying equipment costs and labor charges.
We suggest requesting free quotes from three to five companies and comparing them based on a few factors, including:
- Overall cost of installation for your panels
- The warranty coverage included in the cost
- Overall quality of the equipment brands offered
- Durability of the equipment brands offered
Choosing the best solar installer for your home can lead to both upfront and long-term savings over other providers. The price differences between solar providers can sometimes be hundreds or thousands of dollars, making the research time well worth it.
What Factors Affect the Cost of Solar Panel Systems in New York?
As mentioned above, the typical cost of PV panels in New York fluctuates between $8,260 and $20,650 for most residents. The range is so wide because there are quite a few cost factors that can swing your price above or below the average in your area. We’ll discuss some of the more important cost factors to consider in the sections below.
The Solar Equipment You Choose
The equipment — including the type and the brand of the components — can make a significant difference in what you pay for your solar conversion.
New York doesn’t experience particularly intense weather like some other states do, so the risk of power outages is comparatively low. Some homeowners still choose to install solar batteries with their panels to provide electricity in the event of an outage, but most don’t.
The exclusion of add-on products like solar batteries will help keep the cost of your system low, which is good news for New York residents.
The Empire State also experiences an average of 224 sunny days per year, which is above the average for the country. Because of the abundant sun available, most homeowners don’t need the highest-efficiency monocrystalline panels — and these are usually the most expensive. This means the typical cost of solar systems in New York tends to come in relatively low.
The Payment Method You Choose
How you pay for your PV panels can affect your total system price as well, both in the short term and in the long run.
Choosing a cash purchase, for example, means you’ll spend the most upfront but will also save the most in the long run, as you won’t be adding interest to your overall system price. PV equipment loans allow you to enjoy a minimal down payment or none at all, but they lead to higher overall costs due to added interest.
Solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs) usually require no money down, but they end up costing the most and saving the least over time.
As progressive as New York is when it comes to solar, there is no Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program to make system financing more affordable for homeowners. But there is a C-PACE program for commercial customers and owners of multi-family homes.
There are, however, two options available for low-income households from the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA): the NY-Sun program, which provides PV equipment loans at low cost, and the Solar for All program, which provides access to community solar at affordable prices.
The Solar Installer You Hire
As with any company you hire for a home improvement project, the solar installer you hire to implement your system can make a big difference in your pricing. Every installer in New York will have varying costs, even if those installers are putting in the same equipment. Some companies upcharge or discount panels and batteries, and labor charges will also vary.
When you’re assessing and choosing a solar company in New York, it’s important to consider both the cost and the value provided for the cost.
For example, SunPower, one of the best solar companies in New York, only offers Maxeon PV panels. These are considered top-of-the-line, and they provide the best efficiency and come with an industry-leading warranty.
If you instead opted to hire Kasselman Solar, a local company in NY, you’d have access to other brands like Longi and SolarEdge. These panels are more affordable, so the system you’d get from Kasselman would likely be cheaper, but the overall quality might be lower than you’d get from SunPower.
Are There Any Maintenance Costs When Going Solar in New York?
Since the initial cost of converting to solar in New York can be so high, many property owners worry that ongoing costs for panel maintenance could drive up their all-in prices. Thankfully, solar panel maintenance is rarely required in New York, so most solar customers don’t have to worry much about recurring costs.
One of the most common maintenance requests for PV panels is removal and replacement for roof repair. This service typically costs between $500 and $1,000.
Provided you choose a reputable solar installer in New York, you should be able to avoid panel removal and replacement entirely. Reliable installers in the area will tell you if they recommend roof replacement before solar conversion.
One of the only other types of maintenance that is generally requested for PV panels is panel cleaning. In some areas, dirt, pollen or dust can accumulate on the glass surface of the panels, which causes a decrease in sunlight absorption and energy production.
Luckily, New York receives enough rainfall to keep your panels clean. If you do find yourself needing this service, however, you can expect to pay between $75 and $150 in most cases in New York.
Most other panel repairs should be covered by your warranty, provided you choose an installer that offers good system coverage.
Typical Costs of Solar Providers in New York
The installer you choose will not only dictate the quality of your equipment and the warranty coverage you get, but it will also have an influence on your total system price. Provider cost often varies based on panel efficiency, system durability, warranty coverage and individual labor charges.
Below, we’ll include a quick list of some of the best solar panel companies in New York, along with relative pricing to help you decide which are likely to fit into your budget.
|Solar Installer||Average Installation Cost Per Watt ($-$$$$$)|
|SUNation Solar Systems||$$$|
Read More About Going Solar in New York
FAQ: New York Solar Panel Costs
Below are a few questions EcoWatch readers regularly send in about the cost of solar panels in New York. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered here, reach out to our team of solar experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can expect to pay around $2.95 per watt for PV panels in New York, which translates to $14,767 for a 5 kW system. However, the federal and state tax credits will give you a large chunk of this amount back in less than a year, reducing the net cost to only $7,753.
Currently, there are no incentive programs that offer free PV panels in New York. Some companies advertise free panels, but these are typically promotions to incentivize solar leases, which are less beneficial than loans and cash payments. There are payment options that allow you to put $0 down, which do make PV equipment far more accessible in NY.
Yes! Installing a PV system on your home is expected to raise your property value by around 4.1%.4 Given the average home value in the area of $783,175, that’s a typical increase in value of around $32,110 in New York. This can be even more appealing and valuable in higher-cost areas, like New York City (NYC).
In addition to this massive benefit, most New York residents will also not have to pay property taxes on the added value, thanks to the state’s property tax exemption. This can save you thousands of dollars in taxes over the lifespan of your system, making your PV system even more valuable.