Solar panels shown on a building in Ithaca, NY.

Solar panels shown on a building in Ithaca, NY.

Solar Energy

Cornell Cooperative Extension provides consumers with unbiased, research-based information to enable them to make informed decisions for themselves and their families. In this section, you will find information on solar energy that may help you to decide whether solar is right for you and your home. 

Our solar campaigns are now officially over. We will continue to be here as a resource on solar for any who are interested in learning about this technology and the various options for going solar. A report summarizing the achievements of our solarize campaigns is now available. 

And don't forget, even if you rent your home or apartment, or the home you own is completely shaded, you can go solar. More information is available on our Community Shared Solar page. 

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About Solar Energy

Solar energy is simply energy derived from the sun, which we can then convert to electricity or thermal energy. Since sunlight is relatively infinite, solar energy is one of our most promising renewable resources.

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Residential and Small Commercial Solar

For the typical electricity needs of homeowners, a solar panel system can potentially supply between 70 and 110% of energy demand - the excess of which can be sent back to the grid, allowing you to receive solar credit.

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Solar Thermal Systems

Solar thermal systems convert solar radiation to thermal energy. A solar water heater can meet 90-100% of your hot water needs in the summer.

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Solar Land Leasing

If you own land you would like to lease, consider the installation of a solar farm. Solar developers are contacting farmers and landowners in NY State to secure secure long-term land leases on 10 to 30 acre parcels.

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Finding Installers

To be eligible for incentives and financing through NYSERDA, you must choose a participating contractor to install your solar system. Learn more about finding a contractor here.

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Net Metering

Net metering is the mechanism by which you get credit for the power your solar system produces. Whenever the sun is shining on them, your solar panels are producing power.

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Last updated June 13, 2018