Going Solar on Long Island: Incentives, Savings, and Installation Companies
Long Island is known for bagels, beaches, and Billy Joel – but few people know that it’s also one of the best places in the country to save money by going solar.
It may not be the sunniest corner of the world, but a combination of robust incentives, high electricity prices, and favorable net metering policies make going solar a no-brainer for homeowners on Long Island.
In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of going solar on Long Island and show you how to find vetted local solar companies to install your system.
Long Island solar incentives
Let’s start with the fun stuff. New York has the best solar incentives of any state – and it’s not even a close race.
In addition to the 30% federal solar tax credit, New York offers:
- A state tax credit worth 25% of the system cost
- The NY-Sun Megawatt Block incentive
- Sales and property tax exemptions for solar systems
And for PSEG customers on Long Island, there is a Battery Storage Reward program that can further reduce the cost of a solar and battery system.
So, let’s say you life in Suffolk County and you need a 5 kW solar system with a sticker price of $20,000 to completely offset your electricity consumption. How much would solar incentives reduce the cost?
NY-Sun Rebate: Long Island region
The first incentive that would apply to going solar on Long Island is the NY-Sun Megawatt Block program. This program reduces the upfront cost of going solar based on the size and location of the system.
There are three regions: Con Edison, Upstate, and Long Island. Unfortunately, the Long Island region maxed out in 2016 and no longer has incentives. However, while the NY-Sun solar incentive has expired in Long Island, there are still funds remaining for battery storage, which we’ll discuss later in this article.
However, it’s worth noting that there are still incentives available in the Con Edison and Upstate regions.
|Region||Incentive||Incentive amount for 5 kW system|
|Con Edison||20 cents per Watt||$1,000|
|Upstate||30 cents per Watt||$1,500|
For now, the cost of our 5 kW solar system on Long Island remains at $20,000.
Related reading: Going Solar in Westchester County: Incentives and Local Installers
While the NY-Sun incentive is a nice-to-have, the federal and state solar tax credits are the real game-changers.
The federal solar tax credit is worth 30% of what you pay for a solar system (including installation, permitting, etc.). So, for a $20,000 system, it’s worth $6,000. This credit is claimed on your federal income tax return and lowers your tax liability to reduce how much tax you owe and/or increase your refund.
The New York State solar tax credit is worth 25% of what you pay for a solar system with a $5,000 cap. So, for our $20,000 system, the state tax credit is worth $5,000. The New York solar tax credit works similarly to the federal solar tax credit, but it’s claimed on your state income tax return.
The wonderful thing for solar owners is that you can claim BOTH tax credits for the same solar expenditure. In our example, combining the credits would reduce the net cost of a $20,000 solar system by 55% to $9,000.
|Price paid for solar system||$20,000|
|Federal solar tax credit||-$6,000|
|NY state solar tax credit||-$5,000|
|Net cost of solar system||$9,000|
So, even without the NY-Sun incentive, homeowners on Long Island can use tax credits to lower the cost of their solar systems by more than 50%.
Sales and property tax exemptions
We’re not done with Long Island solar incentives yet!
New York has a sales tax exemption for solar expenditures. Given an 8.63% sales tax rate for most of Suffolk and Nassau counties, that amounts to $1,726 on a $20,000 system.
There’s also a 15-year property tax exemption for the value the solar system adds to your home. Several studies have found that homes with solar systems sell for more money than comparable homes without. But in New York, you won’t have to pay property taxes on the additional value for 15 years.
Long Island battery storage incentives
Finally, are two incentives for battery storaged paired with solar panels on Long Island, which can provide backup power, energy independence, and the other benefits.
NYSERDA Energy Storage Program – Long Island
Similar to the NY-Sun incentive for solar equipment (which expired in Long Island), there is an incentive currently worth $250 per kWh of battery storage installed through NYSERDA. That amounts to $2,500 for a 10 kWh battery.
It’s worth noting that:
- The battery must be paired with a new or existing grid connected solar system and installed by an NY-Sun contractor to qualify for the incentive
- Your contract will apply for the incentive on your behalf
- There are additional incentives for Long Islanders earning less than 80% of area median income (AMI)
- The incentive level will decrease as program funds diminish
At $250 per kWh, the NYSERDA Energy Storage Program is an amazing opportunity for Long Islanders to reduce the cost of battery storage. But it gets even better!
PSEG Long Island Battery Storage Rewards program
Second, through the PSEG Long Island Battery Storage Rewards program, Long Islanders can get paid to make their local energy grid more reliable during peak demand in summer months.
Basically, from May 1st to September 30th, PSEG can schedule “events” when they are expecting electricity demand to reach or exceed the grid’s capacity. Through the battery rewards program, homeowners to send solar power stored in their batteries onto the grid to meet the demand.
Homeowners are rewarded with an annual payment determined by a third-party aggregator (typically your inverter or battery provider). As such, the incentive varies, but the PSEG rewards program can be a great way to reduce the cost of a solar and battery system.
Electricity prices on Long Island
The second reason why Long Island is a great place for home solar is because electricity prices are very high, which translates to more solar savings.
According to the Energy Information Administration, New York State has the 7th highest residential electricity prices with an average rate of 23.66 cents per kWh and is especially vulnerable to energy inflation because of its dependence on natural gas.
Now, you can write all the angry letters you want, but going solar is the only way to get control over your electricity price.
For example, a 5 kWh solar system can be expected to produce around 150,000 kWh of electricity over its 25-year warrantied life. If you divide the net cost of the system ($9,000 after tax credits) by the lifetime production, you get an electricity rate of 6 cents per kWh.
$9,000 / 150,000 kWh = 6 cents per kWh for 25 years
And while utility rates typically rise between 2-5% per year, your rate for solar remains fixed for the life of the system. Over time, this leads to huge energy cost savings.
The other cool thing about solar is that you can choose to buy with cash to maximize your long term savings or finance the system with a loan to frontload your energy cost savings.
Solar net metering on Long Island
The third thing that makes Long Island a hotbed for solar savings is New York’s favorable net metering policy.
Net metering is the billing structure that allows solar owners to earn credit for the excess electricity they put onto the grid and use those credits to offset the electricity they pull off the grid at night.
Traditionally, net metering policies have been 1-to-1. This means that the value of solar electricity pushed onto the grid was equal to the cost of pulling electricity off the grid. However, California’s three largest utilities recently reduced the price of solar exports by 75%, drastically reducing the lifetime savings of going solar.
New York is also transitioning its net metering policy, but is doing so much more gradually. Most New Yorkrs currently have two options for being compensated for their solar exports.
Phase One Plus Customer Benefit Contribution (CBC)
Phase One Plus CBC is a traditional net metering program with an additional monthly fee based on the size of the system and utility provider. For Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) customers, the monthly fee is 30 cents per kW of solar capacity installed.
So, for our 5 kW system, the fee would be $1.50 per month or $18 dollars per year.
Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER) or Value Stack
The second option is the Value of Distributed Energy Resources program, known as VDER or the Value Stack.
In this program, the value of solar exports is determined by several factors, including:
- The wholesale rate of electricity
- The environmental benefits of the solar system
- How much the system reduces wear on the grid and the need for infrastructure upgrades
Simply put, VDER is much more complicated and less favorable to solar owners than Phase One Plus CBC. Furthermore, VDER does not appear to be available to LIPA customers.
Again, New York is in the midst of transitioning its net metering policy and it is worthwhile to go solar while the very favorable Phase One Plus CBC option is still on the table.
Solar companies on Long Island
Based on incentives, electricity prices, and a strong net metering policy, going solar is a slam dunk for homeowners on Long Island in terms of energy cost savings.
But the key to a successful project – and maximum savings – is working with a reputable and local solar company.
That’s where solar.com comes in. Through our guided process, you can design a custom system and use it to generate quotes from our network of vetted solar companies local to Long Island. Plus, we’ll be by your side throughout the project to advocate on your behalf – like bringing your mechanic friend to shop for used cars.
We’ll also help you secure solar incentives and explore financing options.
Long Island solar FAQs
Are solar panels worth it on Long Island?
Yes, solar panels are worth it on Long Island. Based on strong incentives, high utility electricity prices, and a favorable net metering policy, homeowners can expect to save tens of thousands of dollars over the warrantied life of a solar system.
In addition, Long Island solar owners make the local energy grid more resilient and less reliant on natural gas and other fossil fuels.
Do solar panels increase home value on Long Island?
Yes, solar panels increase home values – and more so in New York than other areas. A study by Zillow found that, nationwide, homes with solar panels sell for 4.1% more than comparable homes with them. However, in New York City, solar panels raised home values by 5.4%.
It’s also worth noting that New York has a 15-year property tax exemption for the home value added by solar panels. So, solar panels do raise the value of your home, but you won’t pay extra property tax on that value.
How much do solar panels cost on Long Island?
The cost of solar panels depends on many factors, but on Long Island the cost can be reduced by 55% by combining the 30% federal solar tax credit and the 25% state solar tax credit.
For example, claiming these tax credits would reduce the net cost of a $20,000 solar system to just $9,000.