What is the Best Way to Go Solar in Westchester and What Should It Cost?
Westchester County may not be synonymous with solar panels quite yet, but there may not be a better place in the country for homeowners to consider going solar. With Con Edison, Westchester County homeowners have gotten used to paying a lot for their electricity — and can expect to pay a lot more in 2023.
We’re happy to tell you there is a way to lower your electricity costs. Between state and federal incentives, Westchester County is one of the best places in the US to save money by going solar. We’ll have to dive a little deeper to understand just what to expect when you’re looking to go solar in Westchester County.
Solar Incentives in Westchester County, New York
The Federal Solar Tax Credit
The Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is available to everyone in the country who purchases a solar system. As it stands, the tax credit has no cap and will reduce your system cost by 30%. For instance, if your system costs $20,000, your tax would be worth $6,000, bringing your net system cost to $14,000.
To take the tax credit, you have to have a tax liability greater to or equal to 30% of your system cost. In other words, you can’t claim the full tax credit if you don’t pay at least that much in federal taxes. However, it can be rolled over and claimed in chunks over multiple tax years.
Another caveat to this tax credit is that you must purchase your system, either with a cash purchase or a loan. If you go with a lease or a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement), the installer will be the one taking the tax credit.
The New York State Solar Tax Credit
In addition to the federal tax credit, New York State offers a tax credit of its own. The solar tax credit is worth 25% of the cost of your system with a cap of $5,000. Since you can claim both these tax credits together, there is a potential to have your system cost reduced by 55% if you don’t meet the state cap.
So, if your system cost $20,000, the 25% NY state tax credit would be worth $5,000, effectively bringing your net system cost to $15,000. Now, if your system cost $30,000, you would reach the cap since 25% of $30,000 is $7,500.
|Homebuyer A||Homebuyer B|
|Gross system cost||$20,000||$30,000|
|NY state tax credit (25% with $5,000 cap)||-$5,000||-$5,000|
|Federal solar tax credit (30% with no cap)||-$6,000||-$9,000|
|Net system cost||$9,000||$16,000|
Amazingly, the incentives for buying solar panels in Westchester County don’t end with the tax credits. There is also a rebate that brings down the cost even further.
NYSERDA Solar Rebates
Starting in 2014, NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) began offering solar rebates to customers in certain utilities and regions across New York. As luck would have it for Westchester residents, the rebates in Con Edison’s coverage area are still active as of February 2023.
The rebate is allocated in sequential segments, called blocks. Every block has a certain amount of installed KWs that can receive the rebate before it is considered full. Once a block is full, the rebate steps down to the next block. Right now, Con Edison is in its 9th and final block, worth 20 cents per Watt of solar capacity installed.
So, for a 10kW system — or 10,000 Watts — the NYSERDA rebate is currently worth $2,000 for Con Edison customers.
It’s worth noting that this rebate is typically applied before claiming the state and federal tax credits, and therefore reduces their value.
|Homebuyer A (5 kW system)||Homebuyer B (7.5 kW system)|
|Gross system cost||$20,000||$30,000|
|NY state tax credit (25% with $5,000 cap)||-$4,750||-$5,000|
|Federal solar tax credit (30% with no cap)||-$5,700||-$8,550|
|Net system cost||$8,550||$14,950|
Breaking Down the Cost to Go Solar With Every Available Incentive
Now that you understand all the great incentives available to you let’s break down the cost of going solar in Westchester County. To be comprehensive, we’ll look at the cost and savings of both an average and a large electric bill. We’ll also see what the prices should be like for standard equipment and what it should look like for premium brands, such as LG.
In Westchester County, the average Con Edison bill is around $120. We’ll also look at a larger utility bill for homes that use a decent amount of electricity, which is around $225 in Con Edison. To break down the cost of solar, we’ll start with the gross system cost. The gross system cost is the cost of your solar system before any incentives are applied.
Gross System Cost
We know those numbers look daunting, but remember, we haven’t applied any of these great incentives yet. The first incentive we’ll apply are the NYSERDA rebates. As with nearly all solar rebates, the NYSERDA rebates have to be applied to the gross cost before the tax credits can be applied.
System Cost With NYSERDA Rebate
Now we’re starting to see some savings. The rebate we’ve used here is from the 7th block of the NYSERDA rebates. Remember, as time goes on and that block fills up, that rebate amount will be reduced. Now that we have applied the rebate to the system costs, we get to apply the federal and New York state tax credits. Since both of these credits come off the total cost and not one after the other, you’re going to see some stellar savings.
System Cost with State and Federal Tax Credits
This is where we see massive savings. It’s abundantly clear that the solar incentives for homeowners in Westchester County are phenomenal. Every single option here sees a reduction of over 50% of the total system cost. If you’re purchasing with cash, that is a fantastic discount that will lead to a very quick ROI. If you want to pay with a loan, you’ll be able to pay nothing out of pocket and save money on your monthly energy payment from the very first day. Let’s take a look at how those numbers break down with a 15-year loan.
Monthly Savings with a 15-Year Loan
Just to make this abundantly clear
This is the amount of money you would save on your very first payment after you go solar, having paid nothing up front. Most homeowners choose to pay with a loan for this very reason. Instead of paying your utility company and watching those rates go up over time, you’re able to save money on your monthly payments from the very start, protect yourself from rate hikes, and add value to your home.
The monthly savings are just the start of the savings. As you’d imagine, those savings add up over time. Once your loan is paid off, you won’t pay anything for your electricity and your savings will skyrocket.
Approximate Lifetime Savings
As you can see, the savings from going solar in Westchester County are hard to ignore. In fact, they’re actually quite staggering, even for us to see. That’s not hyperbole. We service over 30 states and we rarely see lifetime saving this high. The combination of high electricity prices and some of the best incentives in the nation create a perfect storm for these lifetime savings.
There are a couple of things that are important to understand when it comes to figuring out your life savings. First, lifetime savings are based on the warranty of the solar panels, which is 25 years. In short, your system is guaranteed to produce energy for you for 25 years, so your savings will accrue for at least 25 years.
Second, utility prices tend to rise between 2-4% every year, so what you pay for electricity from the grid now will be much less than what you’ll pay in 5 or 10 or 25 years. With those factors accounted for, we’re able to figure out what you’ll save over the lifetime of your solar system.
We do have to mention that there are a lot of factors that can make the cost and savings go up and down here. The orientation of your solar system, if your house has significant shade, degradation of panels, and many other factors can change how these numbers may look. These numbers are accurate, but they are also an estimation. We’re well versed in not only these policies and incentives but how to design a solar system to fit your specific needs.
It’s Time To Go Solar Westchester County
In the end, going solar in Westchester County is a no-brainer if you have adequate roof space. On top of the federal tax credit, the New York state tax credit and NYSERDA rebate make solar very attractive for Westchester County homeowners. If you are considering solar, the time is now. The NYSERDA rebates will step down and your savings will be decreased over time. We want to help you maximize your savings and make solar the norm in Westchester County.
At Solar.com our goal is to make going solar as easy as possible for the homeowner. If you have any more questions or specific concerns/inquires about your home, we encourage you to speak to one of our solar educators.
See how much you can save with Solar.com, here!