New York Solar Panel Buyers Guide [Installation & Efficiency 2022]
Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide to New York solar panels:
- Solar panel installation and average costs in NY
- How valuable and efficient solar panels are in NY
- How to find a reputable solar installer in the area
How to Get Solar Panels in New York
To begin the process of going solar in NY, you’ll first have to reach out to a solar company for a free quote. The company will send some technicians to your home to take measurements and get information on your monthly electric bills.
The solar installer you choose will then design a system, pull permits for the equipment and help you explore financing options if needed. The installation will then begin, and your system will be commissioned (turned on) to start producing power.
Going solar in NY is typically well worth the money for homeowners. This is the case for three main reasons:
SUNation Solar Systems
What Is the Price of Solar Panel Installation in New York?
The typical price for solar equipment in NY is around $2.95 per watt, which is above the national average. A standard 6.5 kW (kilowatt) system in the area will total around $13,500 after the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC).
While this might seem expensive, a typical solar system in NY will pay for itself in just ten years (the solar panel payback period).
The additional 10-plus years of system life after that point are expected to provide nearly $25,000 in energy savings. This makes installing solar energy systems a good financial decision for most New York residents.
For more detailed information on what solar costs in NY and how much a solar panel system will save you, you can check out our more detailed article on solar costs in NY.
The Best Solar Panel Brands Available in New York
New York is ranked 11th in the country for the number of solar conversions completed each year3 — so it should come as no surprise that there are countless solar installation companies and panel brands available in the state.
Since New York receives above-average amounts of sunlight and isn’t prone to much severe weather that might put panels at risk, choosing a panel brand is a bit easier than in other states. For the most part, you just want a brand that will meet your energy needs, has good longevity and comes with long warranty coverage.
Below is a list of some of the most popular solar panel brands in New York, but keep in mind this list is not exhaustive:
- Canadian Solar
Is New York a Good State for Solar Panels?
Yes, most certainly! New York is considered one of the best states in the country for solar panels for a few reasons.
First, and most importantly, the state gets more sun than most. Access to abundant solar energy means that your panels will have more opportunity to produce power for your home. This gives you a better opportunity to reduce your utility bills.
Second, New York incentivizes solar installation by offering several benefits. We’ll discuss these in greater depth a bit later, but one of the best benefits offered in NY is mandated net metering — also called net billing.
Net billing lets you accumulate credit for produced energy that you don’t use and put it toward future bills. This helps reduce electricity bills even further.
Finally, New Yorkers use far less energy than the average American homeowner. In fact, the Empire State has the seventh lowest energy bills in the U.S.4 This means residents need smaller solar power systems to reduce utility bills, which translates to a smaller overall investment to go solar.
Coupled with a high cost of energy that can be offset, this single benefit makes solar an outstanding and lucrative investment for most homeowners in NY.
How Much Energy Can I Get From Solar Panels in New York?
The amount of electricity your home solar project generates will depend on many different factors. These include:
- The direction your roof faces: Southern-facing roofs are best suited to generate electricity.
- The amount of shading on your property: Unshaded roofs are best for energy production.
- The panel brand you install: Every panel has a unique efficiency, which determines how much of the available sunlight is converted to electricity
- The size of your system: Installing more panels on your home will always result in greater energy production. Keep in mind that bigger systems aren’t always better.
- The weather: Solar panels need direct sunlight to produce maximum energy. Cloudy days will cause your efficiency and production to plummet
Since all of these factors play a role in your energy production, it’s nearly impossible to determine your level of energy generation without a full home inspection. The best way to get an accurate estimate is to have a reputable solar company check out your home and provide a quote.
With that being said, we’ll include a chart below that provides a rough estimate for the amount of electricity your solar panel system will generate. Since system size is the most crucial driving factor for production rates, we’ll include expected generation in kilowatt-hours (kWh) for a few different common solar system sizes in NY.
|Solar Power System Size||Expected Daily Energy Generation||Expected Monthly Energy Generation||Expected Annual Energy Generation|
|4 kW||13.3 kWh||400 kWh||4,800 kWh|
|5 kW||16.7 kWh||500 kWh||6,000 kWh|
|6 kW||20 kWh||600 kWh||7,200 kWh|
|7 kW||23.3 kWh||700 kWh||8,400 kWh|
|8 kW||26.7 kWh||800 kWh||9,600 kWh|
|9 kW||30 kWh||900 kWh||10,800 kWh|
|10 kW||33.3 kWh||1,000 kWh||12,000 kWh|
A big part of how much energy production you can expect is solar irradiance, which is a calculation of how much total solar energy hits your roof in a given period of time. Solar irradiance is a challenging thing to determine accurately, but you can use our solar energy calculator to get a good idea of what your panels will generate.
Solar Panel Policy History in New York
As we mentioned above, one of the reasons solar conversions are so prevalent and worthwhile in NY is because of the solar rebates and credits available. These weren’t always available in NY, and the policy has changed over time to provide the benefits the state has today.
Pro-solar laws in NY began in 1977 when the solar property tax exemption was put into place.5 Under normal circumstances, home improvements that boost your home value will also drive up your taxes.
The exemption for solar prevents this from happening when you install panels. This was an important start for the solar industry in NY.
New York also passed the statewide solar rights laws, which gave all property owners — even those in strict homeowners associations — the right to install and enjoy the benefits of solar panels. These laws have been revised and improved as recently as 2021.6
The state also implemented an unavoidable charge on electric bills that contributed to a fund for investing in solar technology. Presently, this fund is managed by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).7
The residential solar tax credit — the state’s local tax incentive — was established in 1997 and remains active to this day. This policy calls for a credit to your income taxes for 25% of your entire system cost up to $5,000. In addition to the ITC, this incentive can dramatically reduce the cost of installing solar panels in NY.
In most states, tax credits are only available if you pay for your system with cash or a solar loan. Importantly, the tax credit is even available in New York if you enter into a solar lease or a power purchase agreement (PPA).
New York began mandating net metering for all electric companies in 1997 as well. Net metering is a billing policy that allows you to:
- Overproduce energy and “bank” it with your electricity provider
- Call on that energy in the future to offset your current energy bills
- Roll over your energy credits indefinitely between billing periods
In September 2004, New York set its first Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal.8 The RPS goal was a statewide commitment to generating at least 25% of the state’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025.
In 2005, NY initiated its solar sales tax exemption, which helped property owners avoid sales tax on solar systems — an average savings of a few hundred dollars. This brought down the up-front costs of going solar — a sticking point for some property owners.
The RPS goal was revised to mandate production of 30 percent of the state’s electricity via renewable energy sources — and then upped to an impressive 70 percent by 2030. This new RPS goal was named the Clean Energy Standard.9
The most recent solar policy to be enacted in NY is the NY-Sun PV incentive program. This provides kickbacks of up to $0.40 per watt for some residential solar systems — one of the best solar rebates in the country. This is income-driven, so it won’t be available to everyone.
What Are the Solar Panel Incentives in New York?
Community solar programs are available in New York.
Each state’s local solar industry lives and dies by solar policies. Solar equipment is expensive, and the perks available to homeowners willing to convert to clean energy often dictate how beneficial solar is and how much one can save by going solar.
In New York, homeowners currently have access to a plethora of solar benefits, including:
- Net metering program: This billing policy lets you bank excess energy production and use it to reduce future energy bills.
- Federal solar tax credit (ITC): The ITC is a massive tax credit for 30% of your total system value. In NY, the average amount for the ITC is around $5,753.
- State tax credit: This is an additional credit to your income taxes for 25% of your system — including panels, solar batteries and inverters — up to $5,000.
- Sales tax exemption: New York currently waives sales tax on all solar equipment, saving a few hundred dollars for most systems.
- Property tax exemption: Many municipalities in NY have a solar property tax exemption, which prevents your taxes from increasing due to solar conversion.
- NY-Sun PV incentive program/MW (megawatt) Block incentive: Managed by NYSERDA, this program provides rebates for income-eligible homeowners looking to go solar.
- Community solar: These programs are a great option for property owners who don’t want solar panels installed on their homes but want to reduce their carbon footprints.
You can read more about the available perks by checking out our guide to solar incentives in New York.
Find a Local Installer in New York
One of the first things you need to do to get the ball rolling on solar conversion is to choose a solar installer. This can be a challenging process, especially in NY, where there are dozens of solar providers available for hire.
Ideally, you want to choose a solar installer that provides high-quality and high-efficiency equipment, has a good reputation for customer service and communication and includes good warranty coverage for your panels and the work completed.
To help narrow down your options, we’ll include some suggestions based on your location below.
You can check out our guide to the top 10 solar companies in NY for more general recommendations throughout the state.