New York

NYSERDA ENERGY INCENTIVES PROGRAM

The New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) provides incentives to eligible installers to install grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) systems. Program incentives are based on photovoltaic module ratings at standard test conditions.

Incentive Levels: $1.75 per watt up to 5kW

All incentives are capped at 50% of the total installed cost for all systems with a maximum allowable incentive of $13,750. The program applies to customers of Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Consolidated Edison, NY State Electric & Gas, Niagra Mohawk Power, Orange & Rockland Utilities, and Rochester Gas & Electric Corp. who pay the state’s system benefits charge.

New York State ENERGY STAR® Labeled Homes and Building Integrated PV systems are eligible for a $.50 per watt additional incentive.

You can find more information on NYSERDA’s website.

LONG ISLAND POWER AUTHORITY – PV REBATE PROGRAM

LIPA offers its customers are rebates for grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) systems as part of the Solar Pioneer and Solar Entrepreneur programs as follows: $2.50/W DC up to 10kW

LIPA’s rebates are designed to reflect the current PV costs. The rebate may not exceed the lesser of 50% of the installed system costs or $25,000 or the incentive value as determined by the rebate schedule.

Visit LIPA’s website for more information about the incentive program.

LOCAL OPTIONAL – MUNICIPAL SUSTAINABLE ENERGY PROGRAMS

Property-Assessed Clean Energy

Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing effectively allows property owners to borrow money to pay for energy improvements. The amount borrowed is typically repaid via a special assessment on the property over a period of years. In 2009 New York enacted two separate bills — A.B. 8862 in August and A.B. 40004A in November — authorizing local governments to offer these types of programs using different mechanisms. Although some similarities exist between the two authorizations, the latter is generally much broader in scope and allows for a more versatile set of local programs than the former. However, not all local governments in New York offer PACE financing; contact your local government to find out if it has established a PACE financing program.

Municipal Sustainable Energy Loan Programs

In November 2009, the New York legislature enacted A.B 40004A, authorizing counties, towns, cities and villages (collectively referred to as “municipal corporations”) to offer sustainable energy loan programs. Loans may be used to pay for energy audits; cost-effective, permanent energy efficiency improvements (i.e., appliances are generally not eligible); renewable energy feasibility studies; and the installation of renewable energy systems. The authorizing legislation does not limit the authority of local governments to provide loans to different sectors (e.g., residential, commercial, etc.). Any such limitations would be determined at the local level for a specific local program.

LOCAL OPTIONAL – SOLAR, WIND & BIOMASS ENERGY SYSTEMS EXEMPTION

Section 487 of the New York State Real Property Tax Law provides a 15-year real property tax exemption for solar and wind energy systems constructed in New York State. While currently effective, this law is a local option exemption, meaning that county governments are permitted to decide whether or not they will allow it. The exemption was mandatory prior to a 1990 reenactment in which the local option clause was added. The exemption is valid unless a government opts out of the exemption, as opposed to the more common practice of requiring governments to “opt-in” in order to offer an exemption.

Read more about Section 487 of the New York State Real Property Tax Law.

NEW YORK SOLAR SALES TAX EXEMPTION

New York enacted legislation in July 2005 exempting the sale and installation of residential solar-energy systems from the state’s sales and compensating use taxes. The exemption applies to solar-energy systems that utilize solar radiation to produce energy designed to provide heating, cooling, hot water and/or electricity. The exemption does not apply to solar pool heating or other recreational applications.

SOLAR PROPERTY EASEMENTS

New York’s real property laws allow for the creation of solar easements. Like those in many other states, these are voluntary contracts which must be entered into in order to ensure uninterrupted solar access for solar energy devices. Solar easement agreements are required at a minimum to contain information describing the easement location and orientation to real property subject to the easement, provisions for termination, and provisions for compensation in the event that interference occurs.

FEDERAL INCENTIVES FOR HOMEOWNERS

RESIDENTIAL RENEWABLE ENERGY TAX CREDIT

Established by the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005, the federal tax credit for residential energy property initially applied to solar-electric systems, solar water heating systems and fuel cells. The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (H.R. 1424) extended the tax credit to small wind-energy systems and geothermal heat pumps, effective January 1, 2008. Other key revisions included an eight-year extension of the credit to December 31, 2016, the ability to take the credit against the alternative minimum tax, and the removal of the $2,000 credit limit for solar-electric systems beginning in 2009. The credit was further enhanced in February 2009 by The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1: Div. B, Sec. 1122, p. 46), which removed the maximum credit amount for all eligible technologies (except fuel cells) placed in service after 2008.
A taxpayer may claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for a system that serves a dwelling unit located in the United States and used as a residence by the taxpayer. Expenditures with respect to the equipment are treated as made when the installation is completed. If the installation is on a new home, the “placed in service” date is the date of occupancy by the homeowner. Expenditures include labor costs for onsite preparation, assembly or original system installation, and for piping or wiring to interconnect a system to the home. If the federal tax credit exceeds tax liability, the excess amount may be carried forward to the succeeding taxable year. The excess credit can be carried forward until 2016, but it is unclear whether the unused tax credit can be carried forward after then. The maximum allowable credit, equipment requirements and other details vary by technology, as outlined below.

Solar-electric property

  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008. The maximum credit is $2,000 for systems placed in service before January 1, 2009.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, and on or before December 31, 2016.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.
  • Note that the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has published a three-page document that provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding the federal tax credits for solar energy.

Solar water-heating property

  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008. The maximum credit is $2,000 for systems placed in service before January 1, 2009.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, and on or before December 31, 2016.
  • Equipment must be certified for performance by the Solar Rating Certification Corporation (SRCC) or a comparable entity endorsed by the government of the state in which the property is installed.
  • At least half the energy used to heat the dwelling’s water must be from solar in order for the solar water-heating property expenditures to be eligible.
  • The tax credit does not apply to solar water-heating property for swimming pools or hot tubs.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.
  • Note that the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has published a three-page document that provides answers to frequently asked questions regarding the federal tax credits for solar energy.

ENERGY EFFICIENT MORTGAGE PROGRAM

FHA’s Energy Efficient Mortgage program (EEM) helps homebuyers or homeowners save money on utility bills by enabling them to finance the cost of adding energy efficiency features to new or existing housing as part of their FHA insured home purchase or refinancing mortgage.


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