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The Cost of Installing Solar Panels in New York State

Solar Financing | 6 min read
The Cost of Installing Solar Energy in New York

How Much Does It Cost For Solar in New York

There’s no one-size-fits-all solar system, which makes nailing down the average cost of solar in New York a little tricky. Every solar system we install is a custom solution.  

Pricing varies with the amount of electricity you use, the system’s size, the components you choose, and the solar incentives available.  

From Syracuse in Central New York to Rochester, the Finger Lakes, and Mohawk Valley, solar panel systems can be a profitable investment for homes, businesses, and farms alike.  

While renewable energy is more affordable now than ever, going solar still requires an upfront investment. Over time, the free electricity generated by your system will make up for the costs and then some, but laying out that money, in the beginning, can be a difficult hurdle without an understanding of what is involved.   

The good news is the return on a solar investment is front-loaded. Meaning all the tax credits and grants can be used to recoup the installation cost within the first few years of energizing your system.  

How Much Does It Cost for Solar in New York? 

The cost of a solar system will vary based on a few factors. These include things like the size of your system, whether you install a ground-mounted or roof-mounted system, and the type of equipment you install.  

Expenses 

The Average Price of a Roof Mount vs. Ground Mount 

There are two ways to install solar panels: as a roof mount, or as a ground mount. The option you choose will impact the system cost.  

Roof mounts utilize the roof of an existing building to support the solar panels. Ground mounts require the construction of a separate, free-standing structure on which the solar panels are attached.  

Ground mounts tend to be more expensive because of that new supporting structure. However, it offers the freedom to install your system at the perfect tilt facing the best direction to maximize production.  

The Cost of Installing Solar Panels for New York Homes 

The following chart shows the average cost for homeowners to install solar panels in New York. As cost varies with the kilowatts (kW) size of your system, we broke it down based on how much you typically spend on electricity each month.  

If you’re looking for a home improvement project that will not only reduce your monthly expenses but will also increase your property’s value, solar energy can be a great option. Below is a chart showing the installation cost of an average system at the specified size.  

For incentives, we’ve included the 30% solar investment tax credit, along with the 25% NY State Energy System Equipment Tax Credit (which caps out at $5,000), and the NYSERDA grant. These figures take into account only the most widely available incentives. Depending on your circumstances, the net cost will vary. 

Solar Installation Cost for NY Homeowners 

Average Monthly 
Electric Bill 

Solar System Size 

Total Installed Cost 
(Before Incentives) 

Cost After the Tax Credits and NY-Sun 

$60 

5 kW  

$24,470 

$10,379 

$120 

10 kW 

$34,170 

$15,419 

$180 

15 kW 

$48,225 

$23,507 

 

The Cost of Installing Solar Energy for New York Businesses & Farms 

The chart below show the average installation cost of a commercial or agricultural solar system in New York. It takes into account the three widely available incentives, the federal tax credit, bonus depreciation, and the NY-Sun incentive. 

It does not include savings from the NY-Sun Megawatt Block Program, as availability will vary with location and year. It also excludes the National Grid Grant. 

We include the 30% federal tax credit, bonus depreciation savings, and the NYSERDA grant in our post-incentive costs. It’s possible you could qualify for other incentives (USDA REAP Grant is one that covers up to 40% of the cost), which would bring the price down further, but these two are the most widely available for farms and businesses in New York.  

Solar Installation Cost for NY Businesses and Farmers 

Average Monthly 
Electric Bill 

Solar System Size 

Total Installed Cost 
(Before Incentives) 

Cost After the Tax Incentives and the NY-Sun 

$600 

50 kW  

$131,600 

$33,993 

$1,200 

100 kW  

$238,900 

$57,554 

$2,400 

200 kW  

$429,400 

$94,331 

 

The Cost of On-Going Solar Maintenance 

How much does it cost to maintain a solar system over the 30 plus years you’ll have your panels? 

Relative to other renewable energy options, keeping your solar system performing takes little upkeep. There are no moving parts and no need for regular maintenance. Cleaning of dirt and grime and snow removal are mostly optional and, for most systems, unnecessary. 

However, while it’s unlikely, there’s always the potential for issues with your equipment. To help mitigate unforeseen costs, you’ll want to opt for reliable equipment manufactured by trusted companies. Often, this means investing slightly more in your equipment, but your future self will thank you. 

Your solar installer should help you determine which equipment is best in the long run. However, always do your own research to find the best solar panel brands and the best inverter brands.  

Quality solar equipment will come with substantial product warranties that protect your investment against manufacturing or material errors. To further protect your investment, opt for a solar installer with their own warranty.  

Manufacturer warranties don’t cover anything when it comes to the installation of the panels. That’s up to the individual installer. You’ll want to choose one that offers a comprehensive workmanship warranty.  

At Paradise Energy, we provide a 10-year workmanship warranty, in addition to our ten-year performance warranty and ten years of free monitoring through our Triple Ten Guarantee.  

To sum things up, we can’t promise you’ll never spend money on maintenance for your solar system. However, it isn’t the norm, and there are various measures and protections available to mitigate this expense.  

Local and Federal Solar Incentives 

There are various federal, state, and local incentives that can help shave thousands off the installation cost. However, the amount you’ll save depends on which incentives you qualify for.  

In addition to the decades of free electricity solar power provides, various incentives help sweeten the pot. These incentive programs are offered both on a federal and state level to encourage the installation of renewable energy by reducing installation costs. 

On a federal level, there’s the solar investment tax credit (ITC). This allows you to recoup 30% of the installation cost through a tax credit. This credit is available to everyone. If you don’t have the tax liability to use it, you’re now able to sell the credit to recoup a portion of the 30% credit.  

There’s also accelerated depreciation, which allows businesses to accelerate 80% of the federal depreciation to the first year the system is placed in service. The remaining 20% will follow the MACRS schedule. This helps to further frontload the solar investment. 

On a state level, the NY State Solar Energy System Equipment Tax Credit offers a 25% tax credit for residential solar systems which caps out at $5,000. There’s also the NY-Sun Megawatt (MW) Block Program (NYSERDA incentive), which offers up to $1,000/kW installed by both homes and businesses.  

If you’re a National Grid customer and are installing solar on a food-producing property, like a farm, vineyard, or orchard, you can qualify for this additional grant. The amount varies based on the cost of the system:  

  • $25K Investment – $5K Grant 
  • $25 – $100K Investment – $10K Grant 
  • $100 – $500K Investment – $25K Grant 
  • Over $500K Investment – $50K Grant 

Lastly, your solar system may be exempt from sales and property taxes. New York offers a sales tax exemption on purchases related to the installation of solar systems. And because solar increases the value of your property, the state also waives any increase in your property taxes related to solar. 

However, municipalities are able to forgo this exemption, so it won’t be available everywhere in the state. Here's more information on the available solar incentives in New York.  

Is Solar Energy Worth the Cost in New York? 

There’s a mentality that solar energy is only practical and worthwhile in sunny climates. So given New York’s cloudy, snowy weather, is spending several thousand dollars to install an energy source reliant on the sun a good investment? 

Time and time again, we see that, yes, it is a good investment. 

New Yorkers don’t enjoy consistent sunny weather, whether they’re in the Finger Lakes Region, Central New York Region, or further west in Buffalo. However, solar energy has proven itself to thousands of homes and businesses in the state as a profitable and reliable renewable energy source. 

Not convinced? You can research to see if your area gets enough sunlight for solar power 

Solar power pays for itself by offsetting your electric bill. Electricity rates in New York are consistently among the highest in the country. So while your system may generate a bit less electricity, that electricity will have a greater value. 

And as the cost of solar system components decreases, it’s becoming more and more affordable to slightly increase the size of your solar system to make up for any lost production due to poor weather.  

Need more convincing? Check out the average payback and return on investment for both Home Owners and Businesses/Farms based on systems Paradise Energy Solutions has installed for real customers across New York and the Mid-Atlantic region.  

The average commercial or agricultural system in New York will pay for itself in 6.3 years. That’s better than the average for all states, which is 8.15 years.  

The average New York home will pay their system back in 15.6 years, which is slightly faster than the overall average of 15.9 years. 

To put those numbers in perspective, most solar panels are guaranteed for 25 or even 30 or more years, meaning your system will be working and producing free electricity for at least that long. Both of these payback periods leave years of free electricity. 

Make the Change to Solar Energy 

New York, a solar panel installation can cost anywhere between $24,000 to $90,000 for homeowners and $100,000 to upwards of $500,000 or more for businesses before utilizing incentives.  

That said, this initial investment in a solar system can lead to tax savings and free electricity for your home, business, or farm for upwards of 30 years, saving you thousands of dollars. Even in New York’s cloudy climate, high electricity prices and falling installation costs make solar a low-maintenance investment that can save you a substantial amount of money. It can also help you save the environment! 

At Paradise Energy, we provide full-service solar installations throughout New York and beyond. If you're researching solar energy, feel free to take a look at our other educational blogs, download our solar buying guide, or request custom pricing using the button below.  

 

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