In January 2013, during the State of the State Address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo committed to providing the resources needed to make “New York State a leader nationally in solar development,” and encouraged New Yorkers to make a switch to solar power.
Joining New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s push for renewable energy, the Governor’s solar energy program aims to provide both financial incentives and resources for New Yorkers seeking to get in on the ground floor of the renewable energy movement and invest in solar energy.
Making the switch to solar energy, however, is a long-term investment and one that requires careful planning and research. Thankfully, a number of websites can help New York City residents educate themselves on solar energy, learn about financial incentives and installation and estimate your home’s solar energy potential.
The NY-Sun Initiative
While currently geared more towards commercial properties and large-scale installations, the NY-Sun Initiative is New York State’s solar power program, which aims, in part, to make solar power more affordable. Offering up-to-date information about incentives, solar funding in New York State and other programs, the site is an important resource for those looking to find out how they may benefit from the state’s investment in solar power as well as learn more about solar power in the state.
NYC Solar Map
Evaluating your property’s solar potential in New York City is easy, thanks to an interactive map that allows you to estimate how well solar units would perform on your property. Using a complex computer model based on the position of the sun, overall atmospheric conditions, latitude and shading, the map allows you to enter your address and receive an estimate of your unit’s solar capacity and annual energy generation.
Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency
Navigating the maze of incentive and tax credit programs does not need to be overwhelming. DSIRE Solar offers a one-stop website with up-to-date information searchable by zip code and offers a wide range of programs to help New Yorkers looking to install solar in their homes benefit from a number of tax incentives from the city, state and federal government.
Currently, eligible New York City residents can receive a 100 percent sales tax exemption on solar units as well as property tax abatement for the cost of the solar panel expenditures. At the State level, New Yorkers who install solar panel units can participate in the State Rebate Program. A 30 percent federal tax credit can also help reduce the cost of solar panel installation. As guidelines may change and new programs are added, it is always a good idea to check the site directly to find out what programs can help make solar affordable for you.
The move to solar is a big decision. To help make sure this long-term investment is right for you and your home, Sustainable CUNY recommends learning all you can about solar energy, reviewing installation costs and incentives and getting bids from multiple solar providers and installers before making the move to solar power. To help make this process easier, Sustainable CUNY offers a wealth of resources on its website including video tutorials to help you learn more about residential solar options, a list of New York State Energy Research & Development Authority approved service providers and a useful tool that will help estimate the costs of solar power installation for your home.
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Tamar Auber is a freelance writer whose work can be found on Examiner.com.