NYC Embraces Residential Solar Power in 2024 with Groundbreaking Policies |

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NYC Embraces Residential Solar Power in 2024 with Groundbreaking Policies

With residential solar incentives eroding across the country, New York City is one of the few places in the US getting more solar-friendly in 2024 thanks to new zoning regulations and a huge upgrade to the city’s solar property tax abatement.

We get it – tax abatements and zoning regulations aren’t the sexiest topics in the world. But for NYC homeowners, they provide thousands of dollars in additional solar incentives and open up cast amounts of real estate for installing panels.

So, we checked in with T.R. Ludwig, CEO and Founder of Brooklyn SolarWorks and Brooklyn Solar Canopy Co., to see what’s new in New York City and what else is on the horizon.

What’s new with the NYC Solar Property Tax Abatement?

Beginning in 2024, the NYC Solar Property Tax Abatement (PTA) will be worth 30% of the installed cost of a residential solar and/or battery system, including solar carports. Previously, the abatement was worth 20% and did not apply to battery storage or carports. The PTA was also extended through 2035, providing property owners and the solar industry a sense of stability for this unique incentive.

Unlike a property tax exemption, which reduces a property’s assessed value, the abatement works as a credit against the solar owner’s property taxes. For a $25,000 solar system, the 30% abatement is worth $1,875 per year for four years, for a total incentive of $7,500.

For reference, at 20% the abatement would be worth a total of $5,000 for a $25,000 system.

20% abatement (installed before 2024) 30% abatement (installed 2024-2035)
System cost $25,000 $25,000
Year 1 credit $1,250 $1,875
Year 2 credit $1,250 $1,875
Year 3 credit $1,250 $1,875
Year 4 credit $1,250 $1,875
Total property tax abatement $5,000 $7,500

The PTA can also be combined with other state and local incentives in New York to substantially reduce the cost of installing solar and battery systems (as we’ll explore below).

TR Ludwig, CEO of Brooklyn SolarWorks and Brookly Solar Canopy Co

While the abatement only applies to the five boroughs of New York City, extending and upgrading the PTA required approval from both city and state government bodies, including a signature from Governor Kathy Hochul. As Treasurer of NYSEIA, Ludwig helped lead a ground-up effort to increase the PTA’s benefits and is already seeing positive impacts.

“This was no small feat – the 10% increase is huge and we created the same 10-year term as the federal solar tax credit,” Ludwig said. “It’s created a lot of interest and fervor in the market, and we’re already seeing other companies moving into New York City in a meaningful way.”

What do New York City’s updated zoning regulations mean for residential solar?

In December 2023, New York City passed the “City of Yes” zoning initiatives, including an amendment that relaxes zoning restrictions for residential solar installations and opens up vast amounts of real estate for residential installations.

“The main difference for rooftop solar is there were a lot of ‘no-go’ zones on a roof – most only flat roofs – where you couldn’t put panels or have them visible from the street,” Ludwig said. “That restricted solar system sizes quite a bit.”

The new zoning regulations abolish these restrictive setbacks and also allow solar panels to be used as accessory structures (aka canopies) over flat roofs, driveways, and backyards. By elevating solar panels above obstructions and fire access, canopies allow homeowners to access more roof space and build larger systems. Canopies also open up opportunities on the ground, such as NYC’s 8,500 acres of parking lots.

solar canopies provide levels that allow for more solar panels

“About half of Queens couldn’t do canopies because of zoning laws, now they can. Same with Brooklyn,” Ludwig said.

For property owners, more space for panels means greater opportunities for energy cost savings in an era of rapidly rising utility rates and electricity demand from electric vehicles and heat pumps.

“It essentially enables more electrification,” Ludwig said. “Even if someone already has panels on their roof, if they get an EV or heat pump and their load goes up, they can squeeze in more panels as a carport – literally park your EV under the panels that charge it.”

a solar canopy in park slope NYC

A solar canopy installed in Park Slope by Brooklyn Solar Canopy Co. raises the panels above obstructions and fire lanes.

Is solar worth it in New York City?

Thanks to high electricity prices and robust incentives at the federal, state, and local levels, New Yorkers can drastically reduce their electricity costs with solar panels. In addition to the new policies from NYC, residential solar systems may also qualify for:

  • A 30% tax credit from the federal government
  • A 25% tax credit (up to $5,000) from the state government
  • A 20 cents per Watt upfront rebate through NYSERDA
  • State sales tax exemption
  • 1:1 net metering

Here’s how these incentives add up for a 5 kW solar system with a sticker price of $25,000.

Item Amount
Sticker price $25,000
NYSERDA rebate -$1,000
Contract price $24,000
30% federal tax credit -$7,200
25% state tax credit -$5,000 (max)
NYC tax abatement (over 4 years) -$7,200
Net price $4,600

Altogether, the solar incentives available in NYC reduce the cost of this system by nearly 82% and the state’s 1:1 net metering policy provides full retail value for the excess solar production pushed onto the grid. Thanks to net metering, New Yorkers can effectively swap their ConEd electricity bill for low, steady payments on a heavily discounted solar system.

And that’s not to mention that electricity generated by residential solar is 12-20 times cleaner than kilowatts coming from the grid.

So, is solar worth it in NYC? Only if you like clean electricity and low, steady energy costs.


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