Are you ready to switch to clean energy in 2020? If you’re a New York state resident, it’s a great time to go solar! New York is a leader in the usage of solar power, thanks to the state’s renewable energy target of 50 percent by 2030. A typical-sized system (6 kW) averages around $14,000 after rebates and tax credits, but there’s lots to consider as you plan your system. Read on to hear more about the cost of solar panels in the Empire State!
Primary Factors that Determine Cost
Size of the system
Most people who have solar power systems choose to harvest enough energy to cover their full electrical needs, eliminating future electricity bills. It is a good idea, therefore, to start by figuring out the energy needs of your home. In the U.S., the average household consumes about 10,400 kWh (kilowatt-hours) per year. Using that figure and assuming you invest in the popular 250-watt panels, between 28 and 34 panels would be suggested. This number is also affected by the amount of sunlight you receive. New York averages 224 sunny days per year, well above the national average of 205.
The equipment needed for a solar system is:
Solar panels – Two technologies currently dominate the solar panel market: monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Both work similarly, but monocrystalline has a higher efficiency rating. They vary in appearance and cost, with monocrystalline panels running higher.
Racking – Instead of placing solar panels right onto your roof, the panels are mounted upon a racking system, which itself is installed onto your roof. The racking system configures your solar panels to receive maximum energy from the sun, and also acts to protect your roof from damage. If you are instead in the market for a solar carport or ground mount solar, you can also find a mounting system to fit your needs.
Inverters – Solar power is received as DC current, and the inverter switches it to AC power, which most homes are wired to use.
Performance monitoring system – This monitors how effectively your system is running and reports the hourly electricity your solar system produces. Monitoring systems also let you know when an issue comes up with your system that needs your attention.
Solar batteries – Solar power storage systems let homeowners use the solar energy that their homes generate at night or on cloudy days.
Solar Installation Company
There’s a wide range of quotes, depending on the installers. Some have higher prices because they use higher-quality equipment, while others spend extra money on advertising.
Be sure to take the time to research installers are in your area. You can ask your neighbors who installed their solar panels and how happy they were with the job. Be sure to ask multiple installers for quotes, compare their reviews, and look at what equipment they use!
Make sure you do your homework when comparing prices, and collect a variety of quotes from service providers in your area. You will likely receive quite a wide range of quotes, due to the difference in overhead fees an installer might charge you.
This research is well worth the investment of your time- it could save you thousands of dollars. Large-scale companies have a strong reputation because they’re already established, so they can charge more and not worry about competition from small-scale businesses. These names that are already well-established also frequently charge more to cover their marketing and additional overhead expenses.
Price of Installation Breakdown
Panels have a reputation for being pricey, but their cost is only an estimated 34% of your total cost. Labor and overhead costs actually come out to much more. Here is a breakdown of costs to get a better idea:
New York Solar Incentives, Tax Credits, and Rebates
New York offers a generous amount of incentives for residents who invest in solar. The most significant savings is the federal investment tax credit (ITC), which provides a tax credit equal to 30% of your home solar system’s value. This savings is time-sensitive- it will drop to 20 % in 2020, and eventually phase out in 2022.
Unique to New York State is the New York Solar Equipment Tax Credit, good for systems up to 25 kilowatts in capacity. This tax credit is equal to $5,000 or 25 percent of the cost of your solar system, whichever is less. If your system costs $15,000, you’d be able to take a $3,750 tax credit on your state taxes. If it cost $21,000, however, you’d only be able to earn a $5,000 tax credit, since that’s the lesser of the two possible values.
Related Article: NY Solar Incentives and Rebates 2020
Yet another way to save is the Megawatt Block program, which offers funding on a per-watt basis to homeowners who install solar energy systems. As the solar capacity of a particular region rises, the amount that homeowners are eligible to receive declines until the incentive is phased out completely.
In addition, New York State offers an exemption on the sale and installation costs of residential solar systems from the state sales tax, for systems that cool, heat and/or provide electricity to residences.
Buying your solar panels outright has its benefits – as the owner, you benefit from increased home value. Solar loans and solar leases/PPAs both offer $0 money down, and monthly payments that will most likely be less than your current utility bill. One advantage of a solar loan is that it can be paid off within 7 to 15 years. Solar leases, on the other hand, often come with a 20-25 year term.
If you are looking for a loan, check out the NY-Sun initiative, which offers loans to residents looking to invest in solar power.
Other Factors that Affect Cost
Solar energy is a substantial investment, so be sure to consider the big picture. You are making a long-term investment, so think about the cost and savings you will encounter over the next twenty years or so. Good things to keep in mind are:
- Cost of materials needed for installation
- Labor and overhead costs from your installer
- Maintenance fees
- Federal, state and local tax credit savings
- The price and average power usage on your current electric bills
- What you can expect to save on future bills (or lack of!)
The Payback Period refers to how long it will take to recover financially from your solar power investment, be it by profit or savings. In NY, the payback period averages 6-8 years.
So after six to eight years, your solar panels will be paid for by the savings on your electricity bill. Any electricity generated from the solar panels after this point is basically free, aside from the utility company connection fees. Remember too that solar panels have a 20-30 year warranty, so that is lots of savings over time. Because electricity rates in NY are so high, a typical NY solar panel system will provide significant savings to you over the span of 20 years.
New York residents pay a high price for electricity usage, an average of 14.74 cents per kWh. Considering the high electricity cost for both households and business owners, investing in clean energy will be both good for the environment and also your budget.
Some roofs are perfectly designed for solar installation, while others leave something to be desired. Some factors that matter are how steep your roof is, whether or not it has multiple levels, and if there are skylights or other items already installed on your roof.
The condition of your roof is also important. If the roof is old, it might need to be replaced since the solar panels can stay on them for decades. But keep in mind that the roof repair can be bundled into the solar project and qualify for the financial incentives and rebates.
Costs by City
Your location will also affect the cost of a solar energy system. In Herkimer County, for example, the average price of a 5kW system in 2019 after savings and rebates is $ $8,135, while in New York County, that estimate goes up to $14,817.
These numbers are just estimates, as solar systems are highly customizable to your finances and power needs.
Solar power systems don’t require much maintenance throughout the year, just an annual cleaning and inspection. Cleaning keeps your system running smoothly, and an inspector can alert you if a problem does arise with your system.
Professional cleaning costs charge between $3 and $10 per panel or a flat rate of at least $100. Some people do clean their own systems, but it is advised to speak to your installer before you make such a decision!
Installation companies offer warranties for your protection, covering performance, workmanship, and equipment. In the event of inclement weather, your homeowner’s insurance should cover some of that expense as well. Again, check with a professional in that area for more information.
Home value increase
Property value does tend to increase for solar-powered homes, especially when those panels are purchased (not leased), and homes are located in an active solar market, such as New York. (If states receive an adequate amount of sunlight, there’s a high amount of installation rates, and the state offers savings toward the cost of installing a solar system, then the state is considered an active solar market.). NY residents benefit from savings on their electric bills, as well as the added bonus of increased property value. According to a recent Zillow study, solar-powered homes in the New York City metropolitan area are worth an estimated 5.4% more than comparable homes without solar!
How to Calculate Your Solar Installation Costs
Solar panel cost calculator
Want more help in calculating your installation cost? Project Sunroof is a cost estimator powered by Google that figures out a personalized quote for installing solar panels on your home. Using Google Earth images, this technology determines your roof’s shape and your local weather, two major factors in deciding solar costs. You then add information from your electric bill to help them estimate how many panels you’d require and what the estimated cost would be. Finally, you can compare options to fund and pay for your project.
New York residents can benefit from the Empire State’s active solar market, including all of the incentives mentioned above. This is a great time to get started, while the ITC still offers savings at an optimum rate. Speak with installers in your area to discuss how you can get started harnessing your own clean, pure solar energy.
People Also Ask
In short, yes. Solar power is so customizable to your needs, and you can save on your electric bill whether you have a large house to outfit with panels or are leasing them on your modest home. Considering the generous savings that New York offers coupled with the limited-time federal tax credit, now is a great time to get started.
This depends on the wattage of your solar panels, the size of your home, and the amount of energy you consume. This number also varies by how fully you want to cover your electrical needs. If you are powering a home with 250-watt solar panels and are using an average of 10,400 kWh per year of electricity, then approximately 28-34 panels would cover 100% of your electrical needs.
In 2019, the cost for solar panels averages between $2.58 and 3.38 per watt. Prices have gone down in recent years and seem they will continue to do so, but money-saving incentives such as the investment tax credit (ITC) will not last long!
Solar panels are estimated to last for 20-25 years. They might still produce electricity after this time, but their production will likely slow down. Solar panels are quite durable, and require little maintenance, except for annual cleaning and inspection, which could alert you of any potential issues in your system.
Be sure to research your panels’ warranties, ensuring they’re well-covered for defects and environmental damage.
You can- but that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice. A home solar kit often costs less, which can mean even more savings, but you do sometimes get what you pay for, so it’s a good idea to do your research and see just how reputable the company is.