Affordable Solar

Affordable Solar is a NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) program designed to provide solar power to residents who can benefit the most from cheaper electricity -- those who pay proportionately more of their income for it. For eligible homeowners, the rebate incentive for PV systems is doubled

The NYSERDA rebate is taken directly off the up-front cost of the system. Rebate levels decrease over time as megawatt blocks of solar go on-line; current levels can be found here. For example, as of 9/22/17, the rebate for residential systems is $0.35/watt. So, for income-qualified residents, this amount would be $0.70/watt. As of 10/2018, a little over half of the megawatt block had been used up. When it is completely exhausted, the incentive level will drop to $0.20/watt, and $0.40/watt for income-qualified residents.

To be eligible, customers must make less than 80% of the median area income. This varies by county (eligibility levels can be found here). 

For example, the eligible income limits for Tompkins County residents are:

Tompkins County
Income limits
1 person $42,350.00
2 person $48,496.00
3 person $59,904.00
4 person $71,312.00
5 person $82,720.00
6 person $94,128.00
7 person $99,040.00
8 person
9 person $121,333.00
10 person $132,480.00

In addition, homeowners may also be able to take advantage of low-interest loans. There are two basic options:-If you are eligible for this program, you may also qualify for free or discounted home energy improvements through the

Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR® or EmPower programs.

OPTION 1: Residential and Small Business/Not-for Profit On-Bill Recovery Loan

Provide the convenience of paying for energy improvements on your utility bill.

  • The current interest rate is 3.49% for residential loans and 2.5% interest for small business and not-for-profit loans. Interest rates are subject to change.
  • Repayments are made through a monthly installment charge on your utility bill.
  • Monthly payments may not exceed the estimated energy cost savings from the energy upgrades, which means the energy savings may cover most or all of your loan payment.
  • In the event your property is sold, the unpaid balance of the loan may be transferred to the new owners.
  • For full eligibility requirements and instructions on how to apply for a Residential On-Bill Recovery Loan, visit Energy Finance Solutionor call 1-800-361-5663.
  • Learn more about the On-Bill Recovery Loan for Small Businesses and Not-for-Profits.

OPTION 2: Residential Smart Energy Loan

Offers affordable interest rates, flexible terms and simple repayment options.

  • The current interest rateis 3.99%, or 3.49% if repaid through automatic bank withdrawals. Interest rates are subject to change.
  • Repayments are made directly to NYSERDA’s loan servicer.
  • For full eligibility requirements and instructions on how to apply visit Energy Finance SolutionsLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page. or call1-800-361-5663

Last updated July 26, 2019