5 Things to Know About Going Solar in Con Edison New York | Solar.com

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5 Things to Know About Going Solar in Con Edison New York

So, you’re a Con Edison customer in New York looking into home solar. Good news: You’re located in one of the best areas for solar savings in the country!

New York doesn’t typically come to mind as a top state for going solar. However, what Empire State lacks in sun, it more than makes up for in solar incentives that reduce the cost of going solar and increase the lifetime savings.

In this post, we’ll demystify some of the concerns out there, and lay out five key things you need to know to go solar with confidence in New York.

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1. The solar incentives for Con Edison NY customers are incredible

First and foremost, be aware that New York has an incredible portfolio of solar incentives. In fact, in addition to federal, state, and municipal incentives, there are solar incentives specifically for Con Edison customers. (That’s four sources of incentives, for those keeping track).

The video below breaks down how Con Edison customers can combine these incentives to reduce the cost of going solar by more than 55%.

The Megawatt Block Incentive – Con Edison Region

The first solar incentive that applies to Con Edison NY customers is the Megawatt Block rebate.

This state rebate incentive from the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) is part of the NY-Sun Incentive Residential Program. It provides different incentive amounts based on the reservation “block” you fall into when you go solar and claim the incentive.

As of February 2023, the Con Edison region is in its 9th and final block, meaning residential customers can get $0.20 off their purchase for every Watt installed. Click here to check the current incentive level and availability.

Con edison ny-sun incentive

So, if you purchase a 5 kW (5,000 W) solar system for $20,000, the incentive would be worth $1,000 and reduce the upfront cost of the system to $19,000.

Gross system cost (5 kW) $20,000
NY-Sun Megawatt Block incentive (20 cents/W) -$1,000
Net system cost $19,000

It’s worth noting that the NY-Sun Megawatt Block incentive is first come, first serve and near the end of its life. It may not be the biggest solar incentive available in New York, but it’s a sizeable chunk off the cost of your system, which leads to greater savings.



30% federal solar tax credit

The biggest solar incentive for any US homeowner — including Con Edison customers — is the 30% federal solar tax credit. This tax credit is worth 30% of what you spend on a solar and/or battery system that can be used to lower your federal tax liability, with no limit.

The wonderful thing for Con Edison customers is that the federal solar tax credit can be combined with the NY-Sun Megawatt Block rebate. But it’s important to note that it applies to the cost of going solar after the NY-Sun incentive kicks in.

Gross system cost (5 kW) $20,000
NY-Sun Megawatt Block incentive (20 cents/W) -$1,000
Price paid for system $19,000
Federal solar tax credit (30%) -$5,700
Net system cost $13,300

With the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022, the federal solar tax credit will remain at 30% through 2032.

And for those keeping score at home, our $20,000 solar system is now over 33% off after incentives and we’re not done yet!

25% New York Residential Solar Tax Credit

The best incentive available only to New Yorkers is the state’s 25% residential solar tax credit.

This works similarly to the federal solar tax credit, with two major differences:

  • You claim the New York solar tax credit on your state income tax return
  • There is a $5,000 cap on the credit

So, if pay $30,000 for a solar system, the tax credit would only be worth $5,000 (16%) instead of $7,500 (25%).

Here’s the good news: The NY solar tax credit can be combined with the NY-Sun incentive and the federal solar tax credit for a major reduction in the cost of going solar.

Here’s how combining New York solar incentives works for a $20,000 system:

Gross system cost (5 kW) $20,000
NY-Sun Megawatt Block incentive (20 cents/W) -$1,000
Price paid for system $19,000
Federal solar tax credit (30%) -$5,700
NY solar tax credit (25%) -$4,750
Net system cost $8,550

After applying all the incentives, the cost of the system has been reduced by more than 57%.

And guess what: We’re still not done!

New York tax incentives for solar systems

In addition to tax credits, there are three additional tax incentives for going solar in New York. Always consult a licensed tax professional with questions regarding solar tax incentives.

First, there is a statewide sales tax exemption for solar expenditures. The average sales tax rate is around 8.5% in New York, which amounts to $1,700 on a $20,000 purchase.

Second, there is a property tax exemption for the home value added by solar equipment. Several studies have shown that solar systems increase home value. However, solar owners in New York don’t have to pay additional property tax on that added value for 15 years. With some of the highest property tax rates in the nation, that’s a pretty sweet deal.

Finally, if you live in New York City, as many Con Edison customers do, there is a property tax abatement in lieu of the property tax exemption. Beginning in 2024, the tax abatement is a 7.5% deduction of system expenditures from their property taxes each year for 4 years, totaling 30% of the system cost.

Here’s how it works for a 5 kW system with a gross price of $20,000.

Price paid for system (After NY-Sun rebate) $19,000
Year 1 tax abatement (7.5% of price paid) $1,425
Year 2 tax abatement (7.5% of price paid) $1,425
Year 3 tax abatement (7.5% of price paid) $1,425
Year 4 tax abatement (7.5% of price paid) $1,425
Total tax abatement incentive $5,700

Legislation passed in late 2023 renewed this great incentive through 2035.



2. Net metering is transitioning in New York

Net metering is a billing structure that allows solar owners to earn credit for the excess solar electricity they push onto the grid (exports) in order to offset the cost of the grid electricity they use when their panels aren’t producing (imports).

Traditionally, the value of solar exports has been equal to the value of solar imports. So, every kWh you put on the grid offsets a kWh you pull off the grid. This one-to-one ratio allows solar owners to replace their monthly electricity bill with lower, more predictably payments on their solar system.

However, with the cost of solar electricity plummeting over the last few decades, utilities in many states — most notably California — are pushing to repeal and weaken net metering policies.

New York is currently transitioning away from a traditional net metering policy, but is doing so at a relatively slow and gradual pace. Currently, there are two options for Con Edison customers to be compensated for their solar exports.

Phase One Plus Consumer Benefit Charge (CBC)

The first option is a transitional net metering policy called Phase One Plus Consumer Benefit Charge (CBC). This is essentially a one-to-one net metering policy with a small additional monthly charge based on the size of the solar system and utility provider.

For Con Edison customers, the CBC rate for 2023 is $1.09 per kW per month. For a 5 kW system, that amounts to $5.45 per month or $65.40 per year. This fee helps to fund low-income and energy efficiency public benefit programs.

Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER) or Value Stack

The second option is the Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER), also known as the Value Stack. This program compensates solar owners based on the value of the excess electricity at the time it is exported. The value is based on a handful of factors, including:

  • The wholesale rate of grid electricity
  • The environmental value of solar electricity
  • How much the solar exports reduce demand and relieve the grid

Not only is the Value Stack more complex than Phase One Plus CBC, it’s slightly less favorable to solar owners. Since Phase One Plus CBC is a transitional program, it won’t be around forever. So, it’s worth jumping on this strong net metering policy while it’s available.

3. Solar and snow are compatible

Many of our customers wonder if their solar energy systems will still produce electricity when it snows.

In a word, yes! Solar photovoltaic systems use light to produce electricity — not heat. So, light snow cover on your solar panels will not prohibit it from producing electricity.

In fact, snow actually cleans your panels as it melts and carries away dust and debris.

Using the latest technology, our design engineers factor in your roof’s sun exposure and weather events to size your solar system. Con Edison customers go solar every day without letting a little snow get in their way!

There is one piece of equipment you should keep in mind when installing solar for snow: snow guards. These small, inexpensive components will make sure that when the snow on your panels melt it won’t fall as one huge sheet. The snow guards will instead break it up into harmless pieces.

new york state solar

4. Flat and high-pitch roofs are solar friendly… mostly

While trickier than conventional roof pitches, flat and high-pitch roofs are in fact suitable for solar. If your home matches one of these characteristics, there are just a couple of things to keep in mind.

Flat roofs

Be sure to review our post on what to know when installing solar on flat roofs. Solar panels for this roof type may or may not need to be tilted in order to orient them to generate a maximum amount of electricity. The necessity of tilting will depend on how much energy needs to be produced, compared with how much roof space is available for panel placement.

There is a chance of roof leakage occurring from the installation, but recent technology such as non-penetrating ballasts significantly decreases this likelihood.

High-pitch roofs

Sometimes high-pitch roofs for heavy snow areas make it difficult to install solar because of the inflexibility of the solar system tilt and orientation. However, it is still possible if there is sufficient space in the south or southwest facing portions of the roof.

Our PV designers remotely measure how much solar energy is hitting any portion of the roof on a home. If it’s determined that the Total Solar Radiance Factor (TSRF) of the roof meets our requirements, then the high-pitch roof won’t be an issue.

It’s also worth noting that solar installers that service Con Edison customers in New York City are used to working on a variety of roofs.

See if your roof is suitable for solar.

5. New York City has tricky fire codes

Because the buildings of the Big Apple are so tightly packed together, there are a couple of design constraints for Con Edison customers looking to go solar in New York City. Setbacks, or how much space is left from the roof edge to the edge of your solar panels, are closely enforced by the city’s fire codes.

From the streetside, there must be at least six feet of space to the edge of the PV system, and another six-foot corridor extending from the front to the back. Additionally, a path to the roof hatch or door must be kept clear of solar equipment.

These can limit the design layout of some projects but is important for firefighters to access a building from the roof in the event of a fire or other emergency. If your home has limited roof space, you can apply for a variance to allow you to put solar in these setback zones, but that’s at the discretion of the city or fire inspector.

It comes with an extra cost but opens the door for homeowners with many obstructions to possibly go solar.

Con Edison customers have a lot to gain by going solar

Con Edison customers pay some of the highest rates for electricity in the US, but they also have access to the most robust and valuable array of solar incentives in the country.

By combining rebates and tax credits, Con Edison customers can reduce the cost of solar by over 50% and lock in a rock-bottom electricity price for 25 years or more. Thanks to these incentives, home solar is very lucrative in New York despite the snow, unique roof shapes, and tricky fire codes.

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