* Cost data based on quotes for fully-installed solar panel systems submitted on our platform. Prices are shown after applying the 30% federal tax credit.
New York has long been one of the best places in the country to install solar panels. Despite not being the sunniest state, it offers some of the best solar incentives available and has high electricity rates, meaning homeowners can get some serious electric bill savings.
But, some of the incentives that make New York such a solar-friendly state won't be around forever. The state's net metering policy is set to change in the coming years, and the popular NY-Sun Megawatt Block program is in its final stages. To lock in these incentives and maximize solar savings, New Yorkers should consider switching to solar sooner rather than later.
The average cost for an installed residential solar system in New York is currently $12,029 after claiming the 30% federal solar tax credit. This is $2.86 per watt. However, there is some variance in solar prices in different parts of the state. The graph below shows the average cost of installed solar systems in your part of the state.
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Prices based on a 6.8kW system, after 30% federal tax credit
Solar panels have fallen in price by more than 80% in the last ten years. In 2022 they also remain subsidized by the 30% federal tax credit and the net metering law, making them an excellent investment. They offer a return well above the long term average return from both the share market and also property investment.
Another way to look at this question is the levelized amount you will pay for each kWh of power you will use over the next 25 years with and without solar panels. As you can see below the savings are significant.
(forecast avg New York electric rates over the next 25 years)
The federal solar tax credit is the most significant incentive to install solar panels for homes and businesses. The solar tax credit equals 30% of the total solar installation costs, potentially earning homeowners thousands of dollars they can deduct from their income taxes.
Thanks to the passing of the Inflation Reduction Act, the 30% solar tax credit is now available until the end of 2032. In 2033, the value drops to 26%. Systems installed in 2034 will receive a tax credit equal to 22% of installation costs. In 2035, the tax credit expires completely.
Another important incentive for solar panel installations in New York is the state solar tax credit. New York's state tax credit equals 25% of total installation costs, up to $5,000, and can be used with the federal solar tax credit.
These two incentives can be combined to reduce the cost of going solar by more than half after the first year, and electric bill savings will pay back the rest of the price in under eight years. This leaves home solar system owners with nearly two decades of free electricity.
New York has a standard net metering program that offers credit for any excess energy that a solar system produces at the full retail rate. The only difference is that solar customers must also pay an additional monthly charge, a Customer Benefit Contribution (CBC) charge. The value of the charge is based on the size of the solar panel system and the utility’s CBC charge rate. For example, Con Edison’s CBC charge rate currently equals $1.09 per kilowatt of solar installed. This means a homeowner with a 7-kilowatt solar system pays an additional $7.63 per month.
Recently, the state has begun to transition into a new solar billing system called VDER. Solar customers can still choose between the net metering already in place or opt for VDER. Under this new billing system, you have the opportunity to reduce your CDC charges, but this may result in your overall savings being lower.
You can learn more about how net metering in the Empire State works and how much it can save you in our New York net metering guide.
The NY-Sun Megawatt Block Program is another way New Yorkers can significantly reduce the cost of going solar. The Megawatt Block Program provides homeowners with upfront incentives for installing solar panels based on the size of their solar system.
The value of the rebate is typically between $1,000 and $3,000 but varies depending on where you live and the size of your solar system.
But, this incentive won't be around forever - it expires once the program is full and has already expired for residents of Long Island. This means the best time to install solar in New York is now before the Megawatt Block Program is no longer available.
(After tax credit)
(After tax credit)
You will save most money by buying your solar system rather than leasing it. Read more about the pros and cons of leasing vs buying solar.
Minimum of 25 years but generally 30 or more
Solar panels power your house when they can but your home uses the utility company for power at other times. In 2023 "solar systems with battery storage" are becoming more popular. These are known as hybrid systems.
A grid-tied system is the most common type of solar system. It has no solar battery for backup power and utilizes net metering to maximize savings. Solar panels are mounted on your roof then wired together, and the power generated flows into an inverter where direct current (DC) electricity is converted into alternating current (AC) electricity. This electricity is either used by your home or is exported to the utility grid.
In hybrid solar systems, rooftop solar panels are connected to both a solar battery and the electric grid. The solar electricity generated by your panels that your home does not use is stored in the battery instead of being sent to the grid, which reduces your reliance on the utility while also providing backup power when needed. Battery storage is still expensive but you may be able to reduce costs by using state incentives.
Off-grid solar systems are not connected to the grid at all, so all of your energy needs must be met by the sun. There is no utility to fall back on. The solar installation needs to power your home not only during the day, but after dark as well, so many solar panels and a large battery system are required. These systems are often expensive and don’t make sense for homes that have access to the grid.
Read more about types of home solar systems.
No, but cleaning them can improve power generation if they are dirty.
Given this environment, and the effect of import tariffs placed on solar panels by the Trump administration during 2018, it is hard to see that solar power system prices in New York will fall during 2023.
Depending on the location, solar panels will generate different amounts of electricity.
A solar system that is installed on a south-facing 27-degree pitch roof New York will generate 1,230kWh of peak DC (direct current) capacity per year per 1kW in the New York area.
Enter your details into the solar panel calculator to see how your location, roof tilt, and roof direction impacts solar panel production.
The biggest advantages in New York for installing solar panels are the incredible federal and state solar incentives. Between the Megawatt Block program and the state and federal tax credits, installing solar panels in New York is less of a hassle and more of a reward.
Plus, because New York has some of the highest electricity rates in the country, homeowners can save big on their energy bills with solar panels.
The only real disadvantage to installing solar panels in the Empire State is that the state receives less sun than some other states in the country, so solar systems may produce less. Also, the Megawatt Block program is currently closed to residents of Long Island. This shouldn’t worry you, though – the other great incentives the state offers make up for this.
This solar calculator requires you to input your address, utility company, your average monthly power spend - it tells you:
If you want to see all of the above but also see live pricing, the three best solar deals available in your city and get binding quotes from each of these solar companies then use this New York solar panels calculator. This calculator requires you to also input your name and contact details because most of our 200+ installer partners will only authorize the sharing of their live solar pricing where we have validated that you are a real homeowner with a home in their service area. We respect the privacy of your data and only share your contact details with the solar companies you ask us to get binding quotes from.
Note: Please keep in mind that the best source of up-to-date information on incentives are the solar installers who specialize in your area.