Clean energy holds immense importance for nonprofits in New York City. By embracing renewable energy solutions such as solar power, nonprofits can not only reduce their environmental footprint but also strengthen their organizational resilience and deepen their impact on the communities they serve.

Read to learn more about the benefits of solar panels for nonprofits in NYC and find out if it makes sense for your organization!

Can Nonprofits get Solar Panels in NYC?

New York City nonprofits play a crucial role in serving communities and addressing societal needs. However, amidst the challenges they face, one question arises: Can nonprofits harness the power of solar energy to push their missions forward? The short answer is yes.

Now, not every roof in NYC is suitable for solar. Just like residential homes and businesses, nonprofit roofs need to be assessed. The ability to go solar depends on factors like energy usage, sun exposure, and roof space. What sets the stage for NYC-based nonprofits to make the switch to solar is the array of super-rich incentives that make solar panel adoption not only possible but highly affordable.

solar canopy installed in Manhattan for Harlem Grown nonprofit with community gardens.
Solar canopy installed for Harlem Grown in Harlem, NYC.

Want to see if your roof is fit for solar and what incentives you qualify for? Schedule a free consultation!

Benefits of Solar Panels for Nonprofits

Cost-Saving Benefits

Nonprofits often operate on tight budgets, with every dollar allocated to critical programs and services. Clean energy, such as solar power, offers a sustainable solution to reduce energy expenses. By generating electricity from renewable sources, nonprofits can lower and stabilize their utility bills, freeing up funds to invest in their core missions and better serve their communities.

Con Edison electricity bill that shows solar savings in Queens, NYC.
This is a June 2023 bill from one of our customers in Queens. Despite summer typically being an expensive season for electricity, he did not have to purchase any energy from Con Edison and only paid the $18 service charge.

Environmental Impact

In 2019, to combat the ever-looming climate crisis, New York City put in place the Climate Mobilization Act (CMA). The CMA will put NYC on the path to reducing building carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 and by 80% by 2050. For NYC-based nonprofits, running operations on clean energy can substantially reduce their carbon footprint, aligning not only with their practices with sustainability goals but the city’s as well.

Enhancement of Public Image

Public perception plays a crucial role in the success of nonprofits. Embracing clean energy initiatives, such as installing solar panels, enhances the public image of nonprofits as forward-thinking and socially responsible organizations. This can attract positive attention from donors, volunteers, and the broader community, bolstering support and amplifying the nonprofit’s impact.

Raise Awareness About Sustainability

Clean energy initiatives offer nonprofits valuable educational opportunities to engage with their communities and raise awareness about sustainability. Through programs, workshops, and outreach efforts centered around renewable energy, nonprofits can empower individuals to take action towards a greener future, fostering a sense of environmental stewardship and collective responsibility.

Solar canopy on top of nonprofit in Park Slope, Brooklyn with the view of the Manhattan skyline in background.
Solar canopy on top of CHiPS in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

Long-Term Stability

Investing in clean energy provides nonprofits with greater stability and resilience in the face of fluctuating energy prices and regulatory changes. By generating their own renewable energy on-site, nonprofits can hedge against future Con Edison rate increases, ensuring more predictable operating expenses over the long term. This stability fosters organizational sustainability and strengthens the nonprofit’s ability to fulfill its mission in the years to come.

Solar Incentives for Nonprofits in New York

Federal Investment Tax Credit Direct Pay

Nonprofits in NYC can take advantage of the Federal Investment Tax Credit, which offers a tax credit equal to 30% of the post-rebate cost. 

Unlike homeowners and for-profit businesses, tax-exempt entities like nonprofits are eligible for a direct pay option, meaning they can receive a cash payment for the value of the tax credit instead of using it to offset tax liability.

NYSERDA Solar Rebate

Nonprofits in NYC can also take advantage of the NYSERDA Solar Rebate, receiving $1.00 per watt for solar installations. This rebate further offsets the initial investment, making solar energy even more accessible for nonprofits.

Steps to Acquire Solar Panels for Nonprofits in NYC

Work with a Reputable Local Installer

Partnering with a reputable local installer, like Brooklyn SolarWorks, ensures quality workmanship, expertise in navigating local regulations, and ongoing support for your system.

solar installers standing in front of Brooklyn SolarWorks van in a neighborhood in NYC.
The Brooklyn SolarWorks Installation Crew!

Analyze Energy Needs and Potential Savings

Collaborate with your installer to analyze your organization’s energy needs and potential cost savings from solar panels. This helps in determining the optimal system size and design. You can get all of these answers and more by setting up a free consultation today!

Conduct Site Evaluation for Solar Panel Installation

Ensure your building is suitable for solar panels by conducting a thorough site evaluation with your installer. Factors such as roof orientation, shading, and structural integrity should be assessed.

The Brooklyn SolarWorks team doing a routine site evaluation.

Secure Funding and Determine Incentive Eligibility

Securing the necessary funding for your solar project is essential to its success. Explore various financing options, including grants, loans, and fundraising campaigns, to cover the upfront costs of solar installation. 

Additionally, work closely with your accountant to determine your nonprofit’s eligibility for solar incentives, such as the Federal Investment Tax Credit and NYSERDA Solar Rebate. By leveraging these incentives, you can significantly reduce the financial barriers to solar adoption and accelerate your organization’s transition to clean energy.

Funding Solar Projects for Nonprofits

Funding solar projects can bring about many challenges for local nonprofits. The upfront costs for solar and assessing your financing options can be daunting. 

Luckily, NYC is a place that is rich with solar incentives. By signing up for your free consultation with Brooklyn SolarWorks, we will be able to help you navigate what government incentives you qualify for as well as different payment options available for your project.

Besides incentives and financing, nonprofits can also fund their solar projects through the means of crowdfunding, fundraising, and community partnerships. 

Getting the local community involved in fundraising for your solar project also brings many other benefits like:

1. Building Awareness

Engaging the community raises awareness about the benefits of solar energy and the importance of sustainability, garnering support for solar projects.

2. Mobilizing Support

Community engagement mobilizes financial contributions, volunteer efforts, and in-kind donations to support solar initiatives, helping nonprofits reach their fundraising goals.

3. Fostering Collaboration

Collaborating with local stakeholders fosters partnerships and collective action, enabling nonprofits to pool resources and leverage community support for solar projects.

4. Demonstrating Impact

Community involvement demonstrates grassroots support and showcases the positive impact of solar projects, enhancing the credibility and effectiveness of nonprofit initiatives.

Find Out if Solar is Right for Your Nonprofit

The benefits of solar panels for nonprofits in NYC are ever-growing, ranging from cost savings to environmental stewardship and enhanced public image. With a wealth of incentives available and a clear roadmap for implementation, nonprofits can harness the benefits of solar energy to advance their missions and create a brighter, cleaner future for all. 

Take the first step today by securing your free consultation and join the clean energy revolution!

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