Is Solar Worth It In New York?
Is Solar Worth It In New York?
Given the varying levels of sunlight the Finger Lakes area sees throughout the year, it is remarkably common for homeowners interested in solar to wonder if installing solar panels is worth it in New York. It is true that New York isn’t historically as sunny as other areas where solar has been popular, like Colorado, California, or Arizona, but there is still plenty of sunshine throughout all four seasons here in the Finger Lakes to make solar financially beneficial to homeowners throughout Ithaca, Rochester, and Syracuse. Let's take a look at how!
Does New York Get Enough Sun for Solar?
A common misconception is that solar panels require constant, direct sunlight to be cost effective. This isn't entirely true. While solar panels perform best under direct sunlight, they still generate electricity on cloudy days. Low or indirect sunlight can still be converted into electricity by solar panels, at a much lower efficiency. Even under a light snowfall, solar panels will turn some of the diffused light into electricity - meaning New York does in fact get enough sunshine to make solar worth it.
This hasn’t always been the case, however. Over the years, solar technology has advanced significantly. Modern solar panels are more efficient than ever, capable of converting a higher percentage of sunlight into electricity. This advancement opens up solar to more areas of the world that previously were too gloomy to make solar panels worth it.
Financial Viability of Solar Panels in NY
When designed correctly, a residential solar PV system should produce enough to cover all of your energy usage even on the cloudiest days. This reduces, if not eliminates, your energy costs and decreases the time it takes to pay back the cost of installation. By utilizing energy efficient heating and cooling systems like heat pumps, and improving the overall efficiency of your home through insulation and air sealing services, you can reduce the amount of solar panels required to cover your energy usage.
Additionally, there are incentives like tax credits available to reduce the cost of installation, making the barrier to solar viability even lower.
Federal and NY Solar Incentives
The 25C Tax credit allows homeowners to take a deduction on their federal tax liability that is equal to 30% of their solar installation costs. And if that deduction is more than what you own in federal taxes for the year your system was installed, you can roll over the remainder for another year.
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) also offers incentives and financing options to make solar installation more affordable for residents. The Affordable Solar program offers additional incentives for households earning less than 80% of the area's median income. Financing options include On-Bill Recovery Loans, Smart Energy Loans, and Renewable Energy Tax Credit Bridge Loans, with varying terms and interest rates based on credit qualifications.
While all payback scenarios will be different, just as not two homes are exactly alike when it comes to energy usage, most solar panel systems pay for themselves after 7 to 15 years. Solar panels come with an industry-standard warranty of 25 years, meaning more than half of their lifetime is spent putting money back in your pocket.
Maximizing Solar Efficiency with Solar Batteries
Solar batteries store energy generated by solar panels, allowing that energy to be used at other times of day. Solar battery storage systems can be installed to operate independent of the electric grid, eliminating energy bills entirely. Solar PV systems that include solar batteries do come with a higher price tag, but offer large energy savings from day one, and will keep your lights on during a grid power outage.
(This is not true for grid-tied solar PV systems, as safety regulations require any panel connected to the electric grid be shut off)
Sustainable Energy Source
Solar energy is sustainable and renewable. By investing in solar panels, you are ensuring a continuous, eco-friendly power source for your home.
Conclusion: Making an Informed Decision
Before making a decision, it's essential to assess your home's solar potential. This includes factors like roof orientation, shading, and local climate conditions. A solar consult from Halco will provide you with a customized assessment and help you understand the potential benefits and limitations of your specific situation.
New York may not be the sunniest state, but the advancements in solar technology, financial incentives, and the ability to store and use solar energy efficiently make solar power a worthwhile investment for homeowners in the Finger Lakes. Embracing solar energy not only benefits you financially but also contributes to a healthier environment.
Want to know if your home is good for solar installation? We can help you do the math. Call Halco for solar installation at 1-315-946-6200