Solar energy is becoming increasingly affordable in New York City, thanks to a variety of unique incentives available to homeowners across the five boroughs. With the right combination of state and federal incentives, installing a solar energy system can be an excellent investment for your home.

One of the most valuable incentives is the New York State Solar Tax Credit, which can significantly reduce the cost of your solar installation. Read on to explore how you can take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.

What is the New York State Solar Tax Credit?

The New York State Solar Tax Credit, also known as the Solar Energy System Equipment Credit, is a powerful incentive for residential solar projects. This credit allows homeowners to claim 25% of their solar energy system costs, up to a maximum of $5,000, as a state income tax credit. This tax credit is designed to make solar energy more accessible and affordable for New York residents, encouraging the adoption of clean energy.

Am I eligible to claim the New York State Solar Tax Credit?

Not every homeowner in NYC qualifies for the NYS Solar Tax Credit, determining your eligibility for this tax credit involves understanding several key factors:

Qualifying Expenses

To be eligible for the New York State Solar Tax Credit, your expenses must be related to the purchase or leasing of solar energy equipment used for heating, cooling, hot water, or electricity for residential use. This includes solar panels, inverters, mounting equipment, and other essential components.

Income Tax Liability

To claim the credit, you must have an income tax liability in New York State. This means that if you do not owe any state income taxes, you cannot use this credit to receive a refund. However, any unused credit can be carried forward to offset future tax liabilities.

Building Type

This credit applies exclusively to residential buildings. Whether you own a single-family home, a townhouse, a brownstone, or a condo, you can benefit from the credit as long as the solar energy system is installed for residential use on your primary residence.

Ownership of Solar System

Unlike the federal solar tax credit, the New York State Solar Tax Credit is available for systems that are purchased, leased, or acquired through power purchase agreements (PPAs). This flexibility makes it accessible to a broader range of homeowners.

Installation Location and Timeline

The solar energy system must be installed at your primary residence in New York State. You can claim the credit when you file your taxes for the year the system was installed. For example, if your system is installed in 2024, you’ll claim the credit on your 2024 tax return.

When can I claim the credit?

You can claim the New York State Solar Tax Credit for the tax year in which your solar energy system was installed. If the full amount of the credit cannot be used in one year, it can be carried forward for up to five years. This means you can still benefit from the credit even if you don’t have enough tax liability in the year of installation.

Want to use this tax credit this year? There’s still time to get solar installed for your home in 2024! Start your solar journey today with a free consultation.

Solar installers from Brooklyn SolarWorks getting ready to install solar panels in Park Slope, Brooklyn NYC.
The Brooklyn SolarWorks installation team is ready to bring solar to your home this year!

Is the NYS solar tax credit refundable?

The New York State Solar Tax Credit is not refundable. However, it can be carried forward for up to five years if you cannot use the entire credit in one tax year. While there has been recent advocacy to make this credit refundable to increase accessibility, it has not yet been passed.

Brooklyn SolarWorks partnered with NYSEIA for a day of action by writing personalized letters advocating for the modernization of the Residential Solar Tax Credit!

Efforts continue to push for this change, ensuring more New York homeowners can benefit from solar energy incentives.

How much can I save with New York solar incentives?

In New York City, you can save over 75% on your solar installation when combining the New York State Solar Tax Credit with other incentives. Here’s a list of other available incentives:

  • Federal Solar Tax Credit: The federal solar tax credit covers 30% of your installation costs. In 2033, the credit will drop to 26% and then 22% in 2034.
  • NYC Property Tax Abatement: The NYC Property Tax Abatement for solar allows NYC homeowners to claim 30% of solar energy system costs as a property tax abatement with the NYC Department of Finance. When you go solar, your property taxes are significantly reduced over a 4 year term.
  • NYSERDA Solar Rebate: The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) contributes a cash rebate to solar installations through the NY-Sun program. This rebate is paid directly to your solar company and reduces your upfront project cost. The rebate amount varies depending on geographic location. The rebate for residential projects in NYC is currently $0.20 per Watt.
  • Net Metering: As an NYC solar owner, you’ll be able to reduce or even eliminate your electric utility bill through Con Edison’s net metering program. Through net metering, you’ll receive retail energy credits on your monthly bills for any excess energy that your system exports to the grid. These credits are used at times when your system isn’t producing as much energy, like at night or in the winter.

How to Claim the New York State Solar Tax Credit

To claim the New York State Solar Tax Credit, you will need to file Form IT-255, Claim for Solar Energy System Equipment Credit, when you do your taxes. It’s advisable to consult with your accountant or tax advisor to ensure you’re maximizing your savings and complying with all requirements.

New York State Solar Tax Credit for New York City Homeowners

The New York State Solar Tax Credit offers a tremendous opportunity for New York City homeowners to save on solar installations. By combining this credit with other available incentives, you can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket costs and enjoy the benefits of clean, renewable energy.

If you’ve been considering solar, now is the time to flip the switch. Take advantage of solar tax incentives at their peak – Schedule a free consultation to get started today. 

Brooklyn brownstones lined up in background with over laying text "Want to learn more about solar in NYC? Download our NYC homeowner's Guide for the latest on NYC rooftop solar." Free download button.

As energy costs continue to rise and environmental concerns take center stage, many New York City residents are turning to solar power as a sustainable and cost-effective solution. But what does this shift mean for your monthly expenses?

In this blog, we’ll explore the factors that influence solar energy production, examine real-life examples of electric bills with solar systems, and provide insights into how you can maximize your savings and reduce your carbon footprint by going solar in NYC.

History of Rising Energy Costs in NYC

New York City has experienced a steady rise in energy costs over the years. There are several factors that contribute to this cause, including increased demand, infrastructure maintenance, and the rising cost of fuel. In NYC, Con Edison customers saw a 22% increase on their electric bills from the winter of 2021 to the winter of 2022.

A graph showing the constant rise of electricity rates by Con Edison in New York City from 2020 to 2023.
Average residential electric bills in NYC from 2020-2022. Credit: Con Edison

New York City has some of the highest energy prices in the country, with New Yorkers paying an average of 35-40% more for electricity despite being relatively energy efficient. This upward trajectory has made alternative energy solutions like solar power more attractive to New York City residents seeking to reduce their energy expenses.

Growing Popularity of Solar Power in NYC

The popularity of solar power in New York City has surged in recent years, driven by a combination of rising energy costs, increased environmental awareness, and attractive incentives.

The city’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and promoting renewable energy sources has led to various federal, state, and local initiatives that make solar installations more affordable and accessible.

Programs such as the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) rebates, federal tax credits, and net metering policies have significantly lowered the financial barriers for homeowners. As a result, thousands of NYC residents have embraced solar power, transforming rooftops across the city. Some even add a garden to their rooftop solar oasis!

A solar canopy paired with a green roof project by Highview Creations in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
A gorgeous sustainable rooftop garden in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Solar by Brooklyn SolarWorks and green roof by Highview Creations.

Want to start your roof transformation with solar? Get a free quote!

What is the Average Solar Panel Production in NYC?

The average solar panel production in NYC is influenced by several factors, including panel efficiency, system size, and local weather conditions. On average, a well-optimized residential solar panel system in NYC can produce about 1,200 to 1,400 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year for every kilowatt (kW) of installed capacity. For example, a typical 5 kW solar system would generate approximately 6,000 to 7,000 kWh annually.

Factors Affecting the Average Electric Bill with Solar Panels

When it comes to calculating the average electric bill with solar panels on a specific home, there are a good amount of factors that are taken into account. 

Here’s a few of the major factors that affect the average electric bill with solar panels:

Size and Type of Solar Panel System

The size and type of the solar panel system significantly affect the average electric bill. Larger systems with higher capacity can produce more electricity, potentially covering a more substantial portion of a household’s energy needs. 

Brooklyn SolarWorks’ patented, award-winning Brooklyn Solar Canopy helps elevate systems over the most obstructed surfaces, maximizing solar performance on flat roofs. For homes that can not use a solar canopy (like historic and landmarked homes), a tilt rack system is used.

Energy Consumption

Your household’s energy consumption patterns greatly influence your electric bill. Homes with higher energy usage will see more significant savings from solar panels, as a larger portion of their consumption can be offset by solar production depending on the size of the system. Conversely, homes with lower energy usage might achieve lower overall savings.

Net Metering Policies

NYC’s net metering policies allow homeowners to receive credits for excess electricity produced by their solar panels and fed back into the grid. These credits can offset future electricity consumption, reducing overall bills. The specifics of net metering policies, including the rates and caps, can impact the financial benefits for solar panel owners.

Right now, net metering credits are at a 1:1 ratio, meaning 1kW of energy made by solar equals the full amount of how much 1kW from Con Edison would cost. Having a good net metering program in NYC is crucial since solar battery storage is still not allowed in the city.

Location and Sunlight Exposure

The amount of sunlight a solar panel system receives directly affects its energy production. Factors such as roof orientation, shading from trees or buildings, and local weather patterns can influence the effectiveness of a solar panel system in NYC.

A picture taekn by a Suneye to show how the tool measures for sunlight on a roof throughout the year and day.
To figure out how much sunlight a roof gets throughout the day, our Site Evaluation team uses a tool called a Suneye.

Not sure how much sun your roof gets? With Brooklyn SolarWorks, a free consultation includes a roof analysis to see how much sun you get. Book your consultation today!

Utility Rates and Electricity Costs

The cost of electricity from the grid is a crucial factor. Higher utility rates mean greater potential savings from solar panels. As NYC has relatively high electricity rates compared to the national average, the financial benefits of switching to solar are more pronounced.

Solar Power Electric Bill Example

Consider a typical NYC household with an average monthly electricity consumption of 800 kWh and a 5 kW solar panel system installed. If the system produces around 600 kWh per month, the household would only need to purchase 200 kWh from the utility company. With NYC’s average electricity rate of approximately $0.20 per kWh, the monthly electric bill would be reduced from $160 to $40, resulting in significant savings.

Here’s a Con Ed bill from one of our customers after solar in Queens:

Con Edison electricity bill for a solar customer in Queens, New York. The customer only pays for the $20 service charge plus tax.
This bill is from April 2024.  The only amount owed was the $20 service charge.

Because this customer’s solar system covered all of his household’s energy needs, she was charged $0 for supply.

NYC Net Metering Policies

NYC’s net metering policies are designed to encourage the adoption of solar power. Under current regulations, residential solar panel owners can receive credits at the retail electricity rate for excess energy fed back into the grid. These credits can be used to offset future electricity bills, effectively lowering the overall cost of electricity for solar panel owners all year round. 

Net metering policies are not permanent and can change at any time, like it did in California at the end of 2022. Take advantage of NYC’s net metering policies by going solar today and lock in the full value of net metering for the next 20 years! 

Start Reducing Your Electricity Bill Today!

Installing solar panels in NYC can lead to substantial savings on electric bills, protect against rising energy costs, and contribute to a sustainable future. By understanding the factors affecting solar panel performance and taking advantage of favorable net metering policies, NYC residents can reduce their electricity expenses AND environmental impact.

See if your home qualifies for solar today with a free quote!

Brooklyn brownstones lined up in background with over laying text "Want to learn more about solar in NYC? Download our NYC homeowner's Guide for the latest on NYC rooftop solar." Free download button.

Acquiring permits for solar battery storage installations in New York City homes is challenging due to local fire and building codes. These regulations often present obstacles that make it nearly impossible to install solar batteries in residential properties within the city.

While the current regulatory landscape may not permit solar batteries in NYC homes, there are alternative options available for residents looking to utilize the benefits of solar energy! Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of solar batteries and why net metering provides a better value in NYC.

Understanding Solar Battery Storage

The popularity of solar has led to the rise of another renewable technology – solar batteries that can store extra solar power for later use. Homes with solar battery storage can store excess power onsite, largely circumventing the need for net metering. Since solar batteries store energy at your home, they offer short-term backup power in the event that there’s an outage, providing homeowners with an extra level of energy security. 

While this pairing is still relatively new, the growth over the next five years is expected to be significant. According to SEIA, it is estimated that by 2025, more than 25% of all behind-the-meter solar systems will be paired with storage, compared to under 5% in 2019.

The use of solar battery storage is expected to continue growing in the near future.

How Does Solar Battery Storage Work?

Solar battery storage systems store excess energy generated by solar panels during the day for use during periods of low sunlight or at night. These batteries typically utilize lithium-ion technology and are connected to the electrical grid to provide backup power or reduce reliance on grid electricity.

Pros and Cons of Solar Battery Storage in NYC

Considering the unique characteristics of New York City, it’s essential to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of solar battery storage systems:

Pro: Provides Backup Power

In a city prone to extreme weather events and occasional power outages, solar battery storage systems offer a reliable source of backup power. During emergencies or grid failures, stored energy can keep essential appliances and devices running, enhancing household safety.

Pro: Provides Cost Savings

While the upfront costs of installing solar battery storage systems in NYC may be high, they can yield long-term savings. By storing excess solar energy and using it during peak demand periods or at night, homeowners can reduce reliance on grid electricity and lower utility bills over time.

Pro: Grid Resiliency

Solar battery storage systems enhance grid resiliency by reducing strain during peak demand periods and mitigating the impact of power disruptions. By storing energy locally, these systems contribute to a more stable and resilient electrical grid, especially in densely populated urban areas like NYC.

Con: Installation Costs Are High

One of the primary drawbacks of solar battery storage systems in NYC is the high upfront costs associated with installation. From purchasing the equipment to hiring professionals for installation, homeowners will  face significant expenses, which can deter some from adopting this green technology.

Con: Maintenance and Lifespan

Solar battery storage systems require regular maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity. From monitoring battery health to replacing components as needed, ongoing maintenance costs can add up over time. Additionally, batteries have a limited lifespan and may need replacement after several years of use, further increasing long-term costs.

Con: Limited Capacity

Most solar battery storage systems on the market have limited capacity and may not meet the energy demands of larger households. Also, as energy consumption patterns evolve or households expand, the capacity of existing systems may become insufficient, demanding upgrades or additional investments.

Is Solar Battery Storage Allowed in New York City Homes?

The short answer is – no. Obtaining permits for solar battery storage installations in New York City homes is challenging due to local fire and building codes. These regulations present obstacles that currently make it impossible to install solar batteries in residential properties within the city.

It’s important to note that efforts are underway to address these regulatory barriers and work towards making solar battery storage more accessible in New York City.

While the current regulatory landscape may not permit solar batteries in NYC homes, this should not deter you from pursuing solar! There are alternative options available for residents looking to utilize the benefits of solar energy. The primary alternative is net metering.

What is Net Metering?

When the sun is shining, solar panels in NYC produce a significant amount of electricity. That power is typically consumed immediately by the home or building that the solar panels are connected to. But a typical solar system produces more power than is needed at any given moment throughout the day.

Thankfully, New York’s net metering program pushes excess solar back through the utility meter and into the grid. Con Edison tracks this export which is returned to the solar owner as a full retail value energy credit on their bill. This can be used in the evening or during the darker times of the year when a system isn’t producing.

a descriptive graphic explaining the term net metering in NYC. Brooklyn brownstone with solar panels on top.

In this sense, Net Metering functions somewhat like a battery. It allows you to fully benefit from your solar production, even when the sun isn’t shining. This approach provides a means to maximize solar savings without installing a solar battery storage system.

Importance of Net Metering Programs

Net metering supplies energy at peak times when producing and acquiring energy is most costly, like at nighttime. It not only reduces the need for transmission upgrades or new generation, but it contributes to overall reliability and NYC’s clean air goals. 

Net metering provides substantial economic benefits in terms of jobs, income and investment. It increases demand for solar energy, which creates jobs for the installers, electricians, and manufacturers who work in the solar supply chain. The solar industry currently employs 250,000+ American workers in large part due to strong state net metering policies which have allowed it to thrive.

Threats to New York Net Metering

While current net metering policies offer an excellent incentive for solar energy adoption in New York, homeowners must remain vigilant about potential threats to these benefits. The stability of these policies is subject to change due to evolving regulatory landscapes and political climates, as evidenced by shifts seen in states like California.

Recognizing the uncertainty surrounding future net metering frameworks, we encourage homeowners to act now to secure their benefits. By entering into our current net metering arrangement, you’ll be locked into full value net metering for 20 years, regardless of any subsequent policy changes. 

This proactive approach ensures financial security and stability for solar investments, allowing homeowners to maximize their savings and minimize risks associated with future policy changes.

Solar Battery Storage vs. Net Metering in NYC

In certain instances, pairing solar battery storage with net metering can yield optimal savings depending on the state’s net metering framework. However, the scenario differs in New York City due to its full value net metering system, which offers superior long-term value. Under full value net metering, the installation of batteries has minimal impact on savings.

Even if battery storage becomes more easily accessible in the future, the significant upfront costs may render it an unattractive option for many. Therefore, the best course of action would be to embrace solar energy now without waiting for battery storage approval. Delaying solar adoption could result in missed opportunities for substantial energy savings.

Take Advantage of Net Metering and Secure Your Solar Savings

The time to act is now. Embracing solar energy and leveraging net metering in New York City can secure significant savings and pave the way for a more sustainable future. Don’t delay – take advantage of net metering today and maximize your solar savings!

Talk to a solar expert today to learn more about how net metering will work for your home.

Brooklyn brownstones lined up in background with over laying text "Want to learn more about solar in NYC? Download our NYC homeowner's Guide for the latest on NYC rooftop solar." Free download button.

Net metering in New York is one of the best financial benefits of switching to solar energy. This program allows you to utilize the full value of the excess energy your solar panels produce at night or when it’s cloudy, for example, and in turn save on your electric bill. 

But unfortunately, policies and programs like net metering that support the growth of rooftop solar have been in flux across the country. For New Yorkers considering solar, be aware that the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) and Con Edison have been changing the state’s net metering program and will likely continue to do so in the future. Now is the optimal time to go solar and ensure you receive the full financial benefits.

What is net metering?

If you’re an NYC homeowner considering installing solar panels on a flat roof, questions like these may have crossed your mind: How do I store the energy my system produces? What happens at night when there’s no sun? 

If these questions are at the top of your mind, we have two words for you: net metering!

Simply put, net metering is a billing mechanism that allows you to store your solar energy as a retail energy credit to be used at a later date.

How does net metering work?

As a residential solar owner, you remain connected to the grid. When your solar PV system is installed, the utility company will keep track of how much energy your solar system is exporting to the grid. 

During the day, your solar system will likely produce a lot more energy than you’re actually using. All of that excess energy feeds back into the grid and Con Ed will compensate you for it in credits on your next bill. These credits will be used at night or during less sunny times of the year. 

In NYC, we’re very lucky to have 1-to-1 net metering, meaning your solar power is valued at the same rate as electricity supplied by Con Edison. It’s a 1-to-1 exchange of kWh exported to kWh credited on your account.

In this way, net metering in its current form could be considered a virtual battery. It allows you to utilize all of your solar production even when the sun isn’t shining. This is particularly appealing considering FDNY currently does not allow solar batteries in residential settings. Net metering ensures New Yorkers continue to benefit from all of the energy their solar systems produce.

solar net metering in new york city diagram
Net Metering allows you to utilize your solar production even when the sun isn’t shining.

Where to Find Your Electric Meter

After your solar array is installed, Con Edison will make a simple software change to your existing smart meter. This change enables Con Ed to track the amount of energy your system is exporting to the grid which allows the company to compensate you on your future electric bills.

If you live in a house, your meter could be located outside where the power lines come into the home, or inside, in the basement, garage, or other utility room. If you live in a multi-family building or apartment building, the meters for each unit may be grouped together in one location.

Consolidated Edison Company of New York

If you pay an electric bill in NYC, you’re probably aware of Consolidated Edison, or Con Ed for short. Con Ed is one of the largest utility delivery companies in the country, providing electric and gas service to all of New York City and Westchester.

As a solar customer, you’ll remain connected to the electrical grid. Although you’ll continue to receive electric bills from Con Ed each month, you’ll owe the company much less – thanks to net metering.

Ready to start saving on your electric bill? Contact Us

Is there a difference between net metering and remote net metering?

Remote net metering was established in New York in 2011, enabling renewable energy generated by one system to be distributed among multiple utility accounts. This program allows farms and non-residential customers to use the energy produced by a designated “host” system in one location across their “satellite” accounts in other locations.

It is different from conventional net metering because it doesn’t apply to residential customers, and it distributes energy across multiple accounts as opposed to a single account.

Are there financial benefits to net metering?

Net metering helps you get the most bang for your buck when you go solar. Your net meter keeps track of how many kilowatt-hours your system produces and exports to the grid. The electric company only charges you for your net energy usage (energy consumption – energy production). 

Take this scenario for example:

In one month, your solar system produced 1,000 kWh, but your household only needed 500 kWh. Your solar system produced an extra 500 kWh more than you needed that month.

On your next Con Ed bill, you’ll get credit for those 500 extra kilowatt-hours. These will be reflected on your bill under “Net Meter Summary.”

The following month your solar system produces another 1,000 kWh, but your home uses 1,500 kWh. In this case, you’ll use the 500 kWh that you banked the previous month and you won’t be charged.

Net metering summary solar in nyc
Here’s an example of what your Con Ed bill would look like after going solar. Con Ed will provide a net metering summary, which compares your stored credits to your consumption.

When you make the switch to solar, net metering credits you for all the energy your system produces. Under the current program, the kilowatt-hours that your solar system exports are valued at the retail electric cost; in other words, as Con Edison rates rise, the value of the energy your system exports does too. It also ensures that energy is supplied at times when producing and acquiring energy is most costly, like at nighttime. For these reasons, net metering is one of the best financial incentives when it comes to going solar.

Want to learn more about the solar incentives you could qualify for? Get in Touch

Net metering not only benefits you as a homeowner, but the community and economy overall. It reduces the need for transmission upgrades or new generation and contributes to overall reliability and NYC’s climate goals

It also increases demand for solar energy. This creates jobs for the installers, electricians, and manufacturers who work in the solar supply chain. The solar industry currently employs 250,000+ American workers in large part due to strong state net metering policies which have allowed it to thrive.

What does the future of net metering look like in NYC?

For New Yorkers considering solar, be aware that Con Edison has begun changing their net metering program. Utilities in other states have recently been doing the same in order to address “cost-shifting.” Cost-shifts occur when utility companies claim they must charge their non-solar customers more money in order to make up for the revenue they lose from net metering.

Right now, New Yorkers who go solar will still receive 1-to-1 net metering and will be locked into that arrangement for 20 years. But as of January 1, 2022, residential solar customers will be charged a monthly Customer Benefit Contribution (CBC). The CBC charge is effectively a tax on solar, costing customers between $7-10 a month on their electric bills.

In the past, there have been talks of other changes as well, including a new solar billing structure called VDER. While this was put on pause due to the pandemic, there’s always a possibility of more changes going into effect. If you’re a homeowner considering solar, we encourage you to act now to lock in the current 1-to-1 net metering arrangement and avoid any uncertainty.

Will changes to net metering affect my investment in solar?

While the potential savings from the current net metering program will be reduced slightly by the CBC charge, it is important to know that the return on your investment in solar will not change significantly. Whenever you’re using energy from the sun rather than fossil fuels coming from the grid, you’re saving money.

Though payback periods may vary when factoring in these new changes, the investment in solar is still worthwhile – for yourself, your home, and the planet.

Go Solar Now to Avoid Uncertainty

Unfortunately, times are changing for solar policy across the country. From changes to net metering policies to additional charges for solar customers, plenty of uncertainty lies ahead. 

That’s why we urge New Yorkers considering home solar to move forward as soon as possible. By signing on now, you’ll avoid policy changes and be able to take advantage of New York State solar incentives at their peak.

Are you ready to flip the switch to solar? Schedule a Consultation
nyc homeowners guide to flat roof solar free download