Frequently Asked Questions

If I install solar on my home, will my property taxes increase?

It depends on your municipality. New York State has a real property tax exemption for solar. If your municipality honors the exemption, then you can file Form RP 487 from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance with your local property assessor and the value of solar will not be included in your property tax.

Some municipalities and school districts have opted out of the exemption. If you live in a municipality that does not offer the exemption, then the value of the solar is included in your property tax assessment. View a list of communities and school districts that have opted out of the exemption.

Is the real property tax exemption offered in New York City?

In lieu of the tax exemption, In NYC customers may apply for the Real Property Tax Abatement Program which is available for residential and commercial customers in New York City. Visit the NYC Department of Buildings to download PTA4 form and PTA4 Instructions and to read additional information relating to solar installations in the city.

Is my site a good location for a solar electric system?

Solar electric systems work best when installed on a sunny south-facing roof or mounted on the ground in an open location. Contact a Commercial/Industrial or Residential/Small Commercial Participating Contractor for a detailed assessment of your home or business.

How much does solar cost?

Your cost will depend on the system size, site conditions, equipment selected, and the financing model. Check references and get price quotes from a few different participating installation contractors to determine the cost and financing model that is best for your home or business.

How can I find a participating solar electric installer in New York State?

View contact information for Residential/Small Commercial Participating Contractors and Commercial/Industrial Participating Contractors. The lists are organized by county.

How does net metering work? What is remote net metering?

Basically, excess energy produced can become a credit on your energy bill. For full details and what makes them different, view an in-depth explanation.

What is a “True up Date”?

Net metering allows you to carry forward credit earned for excess generation to your next bill. Once a year any excess energy (kWh) is purchased by the utility and the cycle starts over- this date is the “true up date”. Ask your contractor for help in selecting the “true up” date in order to get the maximum saving from your system. The price paid for the excess power will be less than what you are being charged, similar to wholesale vs. retail prices. Typically, spring is better than fall as it allows you to carry any summer credit through the winter when generation is lower.

What are balance-of-system costs?

Solar electric panels have a price tag. But installing a solar electric system involves more than just buying panels. The rest of the costs associated with installation are grouped under balance-of-system costs. Examples of balance-of system costs include:

  • Time and administrative costs associated with marketing and signing a contract 
  • System design 
  • Applications for permits through municipalities
  • Labor for system installation
  • Inspections by utilities for interconnection to the electric grid
  • Inspections by municipalities to make sure the systems meet energy codes and permits
  • Travel to and from the installation site, and other costs of doing business

NYSERDA, the New York Power Authority, the Long Island Power Authority, and PSEG Long Island are working with the solar electric industry, utilities, municipal leaders, training organizations, community-based organizations, financing organizations, and others to help permanently lower these costs. For example, the Shared Renewables initiative is expected to make solar electric systems more accessible and affordable through community networks, aggregated purchasing, shared ownership/investment and other strategies. The K-Solar initiative is for schools.

In addition, NYSERDA has been working with the City University of New York and others to streamline and standardize municipal permits for solar electric installations, which can then be used by municipalities. NYSERDA also supports research and development projects that will reduce the cost of installing solar electric, as well as projects to reduce costs to finance solar electric, increase the competitiveness of the solar electric marketplace, and allow consumers to make more informed solar electric purchasing decisions.