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NYSERDA Launches New York State’s First Solar Thermal Incentive Program

5-Year, $25 Million Program to Help State Move Toward Renewable Energy Goals

April 05, 2011

To help New York State increase its use of renewable energy, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has launched the state’s first incentive program for solar thermal systems, which produce hot water from solar power.

The 5-year, $25 million program provides incentives of up to $4,000 per site for eligible single- and multi-family residences and up to $25,000 per site for eligible commercial and nonprofit customers who currently use electricity to produce hot water.

In addition to the NYSERDA incentives, homeowners, commercial entities and nonprofit organizations can apply for federal tax incentives, which cover 30 percent of the cost of an installed solar thermal system, and New York State tax incentives, which cover 25 percent of the installed system up to $5,000.

Electric hot water generally makes up 17 to 20 percent of a homeowner’s monthly electric bill and less than 10 percent of the monthly bill for the average commercial building. Solar thermal systems can provide approximately 50 to 80 percent of a homeowner’s hot water needs and generally have a very attractive payback period.

“New York’s first solar thermal incentive program will help homeowners and businesses reduce the use of electricity and cut energy costs,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “Through this program, NYSERDA is working to develop our clean energy economy, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and increase our energy security.”

Program specifics include:

  • Incentives are calculated based on the estimated amount of electricity saved by installing solar thermal equipment.
  • On average, incentives for a typical residential or commercial system are expected to cover approximately 15 to 20 percent of the installed cost of a solar thermal system. The incentives are paid directly to the eligible installer and must be passed on, in full, to customers.
  • To qualify for incentives, equipment and systems must be certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation. Incentives will be available only on approved solar thermal systems installed by NYSERDA-approved solar thermal installers. Solar thermal installer applications will be accepted through Dec. 31, 2015.
  • Incentives will be granted first-come, first served, and applications will be accepted through December 31, 2015 or until the funds are fully committed, whichever comes first.

As part of New York’s renewable energy goals, the state’s solar thermal target is to displace the equivalent of 45.54 megawatts of electrical use by the end of 2015.

Funding for this incentive program has been allocated by the New York State Public Service Commission through the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Program. Incentives are available to electricity distribution customers of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, Consolidated Edison Company of New York Inc., New York State Electric & Gas Corporation, Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, Orange and Rockland Utilities Inc. and Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation who contribute to the RPS/Systems Benefits Charge (sometimes referred to as RPS/SBC on utility electric bills).


NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect our environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York since 1975.

Last Updated: 01/21/2014