Solar installation

Residential & Small Commercial Solar

Why go solar? 

The installation of a solar panel system will:

  • reduce your emission of greenhouse gases
  • lessen your dependence on nonrenewable energy sources, which are subject to price fluctuations
  • lead to long-term financial savings
  • increase the property value of your home or business (see Energy Conservation Improvements Property Tax Exemption under incentives to learn more)
  • lead to marketing and public relation benefits for small businesses

State and federal incentives, along with affordable financing, can significantly reduce or eliminate the overhead costs of your system. For the typical electricity needs of homeowners, a solar panel system can potentially supply between 70% and 110% of energy demand. If your system produces any excess energy, it will be sent back to the grid, and you will receive utility credit for the energy you produce. This mechanism of exchanging utility credit for excess energy is called  net metering. If you choose to backup your system with batteries, you can store any excess energy for your own use when your panels are not producing energy.

Who are residential and small commercial customers?

Residential and small commercial customers include  PV solar panel systems up to 200kW.

How much will it cost?

There are several tools to estimate the cost of a residential/small commercial PV system by location, including one from the U.S. Department of Energy that provides a simple step-by-step process for designing your system and one from NYSERDA.

What incentives are available?

Financial incentives and programs can reduce the cost of the entire solar panel installation by about 65%. Here is a list of federal incentives that are currently available:

Not a homeowner?

Community Shared Solar provides an opportunity for entire communities, including renters, to access energy generated through solar panels. Community Shared Solar is a part of the Shared Renewables Initiative, also known as Community Distributed Generation (CDG), under NY-Sun.

Learn more about  Community Shared Solar. 

Are affordable loans available?

Yes. Visit this link to learn more about  affordable loans, and check out OPTION 1 and OPTION 2 in the Affordable Solar section below.

Interested in affordable solar energy?

Affordable Solar is a NYSERDA program designed to bring 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.

To be eligible, customers must make less than 80% of the median area income. Visit this link to  find eligibility levels by county.

The NYSERDA rebate is taken directly off the up-front cost of the system. Rebate levels decrease over time as MW blocks of solar go on-line; visit this link  for current levels. For example, as of 10/15/18, the rebate for residential systems is $0.35/W. So, for income-qualified residents, this amount would be $0.70/W. When it is completely exhausted, the incentive level will drop to $0.20/W, and $0.40/W for income-qualified residents.

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.

In addition, homeowners may also be able to take advantage of low-interest loans. There are two basic options:

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 Solutions or 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 rate is 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 Solutions or call 1-800-361-566. 

Last updated November 12, 2019