In 1997, the State of New York enacted a New York Solar Tax Credit for individuals to retrofit residential property and multi-family property with solar systems.
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New York homeowners are eligible for a personal tax credit of up to 25% for the cost of solar system equipment and installation for solar PV systems and solar thermal systems. The maximum incentive for solar energy systems is $5,000.
System sizes cannot exceed 10kW for residential solar PV systems while properties owned by condominium or cooperative housing associations are allowed up to 50kW per solar PV system.
If the tax credit exceeds your taxable liability, it may be carried-forward for the next five tax years.
To take advantage of this personal tax credit, solar PV systems must meet the New York net metering law which limits photovoltaic systems to 10kW. However the law was expanded in August 2008 with S.B. 7171 allowing for net-metering on residential photovoltaic (pv) systems up to 25kW. The state has not clarified whether or not the new net-metering law limits can be applied to this personal tax credit for solar-electric systems.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) also offers rebates to photovoltaic installers. This NYSERDA solar incentive is equal to $1.75/watt DC subject to shading, system orientation, tilt angle, and other derates to performance. No eligible system size has been specified and production output may not exceed 110% of the required annual energy load. The maximum NYSERDA solar incentive amounts and system capacities are as follows:
Residential: $13,750, 5kW
Non-residential: $112,500, 50kW
Non-profit, government, schools: $56,250, 25kW
There are also local options to help property owners install solar. Solar systems have a 100% property tax exemption up to 15 years. Another local option is a Municipal Sustainable Energy Program where property owners use Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing to pay for renewable energy upgrades. In July 2005, New York made all sales and installations of residential solar-energy systems 100% exempt from the state sales tax and use tax.
The State of New York will benefit from distributed energy sources. By distributing energy sources, it promotes energy security and eventually energy independence (with the installation of renewable energy). With the New York Solar Tax Credit for individuals and other incentive programs, New York is well on their way to meeting their renewable energy goals.