Solar Panels in New York: Cost, Savings, and Rebates

Solar panels against a blue sky with a picture of the flag State of New York

Solar Panels in New York: Cost, Savings, and Rebates

Key Points

  • New York was one of the leading states in the country for solar energy production in 2022.
  • The average cost of solar panels in New York is $2.86/W, with a typical 6kW array costing around $17,160 before incentives.
  • Federal solar tax credit offers 30% back on solar panel purchases, reducing costs significantly.

In 2022, New York ranked 4th in the country for solar energy production. Backed by an aggressive set of renewable standards, the Empire State offers tons of incentives to make a switch. This allows homeowners to save thousands on electricity with solar panels in New York.

However, you might not know where to start with a budget. In this article, we cover everything you need to know about solar costs in the Empire State. From equipment rates to potential savings, let’s get into it.

Average Cost of Solar Panels in New York

At first glance, homeowners might hesitate to consider solar panels in New York; at an average rate of $2.86/W, the Empire State has some of the highest equipment rates in the country. For the typical, 6kW array, New Yorkers might pay as much as $17,160 or more before incentives.

However, that might not feel so bad when compared to the rate of electricity. New Yorkers pay about $0.20 per kWh, the 7th highest in the country. Even with incredibly conservative energy consumption, homeowners in the Empire State pay more than the national average on utilities per month.

With that in mind, you may start to wonder if it’s wise to invest in solar. To help you decide, you might look into the federal solar tax credit, which offers 30% back on all purchases made toward an array. When you apply this incentive to the 6kW system from earlier, you could see the total cost drop from $17,160 to $12,012.

How Much Solar Do New Yorkers Need?

We’ve just learned about the average cost of solar panels in New York, but you might save more with a properly sized array. To find out how much wattage you need to power your home, you’ll divide your typical daily electricity usage by the amount of direct sun you receive. To show you how this works, we’ll use New York’s averages as an example.

Homeowners in the Empire State typically use about 20.1kWh a day (or 602kWh a month). When we divide that number by 3.79 hours, the amount of direct sun New Yorkers usually receive, we discover that the average system needs to produce 5.3kW an hour. Smaller than most, residents in New York would pay $15,167 for this array (nearly $2,000 less).

Now that you understand the math, it’s time to budget for a solar panel system that fits your needs. Because peak sun varies depending on location, you can use this New York sun chart to find the number of hours for your nearest town.

A man carrying a solar panel towards a building under construction.
Homeowners can save $2,000 on solar panels in New York with a properly sized array.


New York Solar Cost Factors

As shown in the previous example, direct sun affects the cost of solar panels in New York. The Empire State covers a large area, meaning that some cities might receive more sunlight than others. For example, New York City sees as much as 4.6 peak sun hours, nearly an hour more on average per day.

To learn more about how sunlight and geography alter the price of solar, compare New York’s averages to its neighboring states.

Another factor that can affect the price of solar panels is the type of equipment. Monocrystalline panels are by far more efficient but also cost more than polycrystalline. However, because much of New York sees a lot of cloud cover, it’s wise to prioritize efficiency over price.

Finally, you want to look carefully at the solar installer you hire to build your array. While you might not want to pay top dollar, it’s critical to know that some companies in the industry undercut the competition by cutting corners on equipment, warranties, and labor. With nearly 250 installation companies in New York, you have plenty of options to choose the best one.

Can Solar Energy Save New Yorkers Money?

Although the Empire State has some of the highest prices for solar equipment, the energy efficiency in New York makes switching a great financial option. Even with low average sunlight, Homeowners have an opportunity to save thousands on their electricity bills. Let’s take a look at how much that could be.

First, we have to figure out how long it could take to cover the cost of an array. With New Yorkers paying about $1,478.04 a year for power, those offsets could pay for a 6kW system in about 11.6 years. While slightly longer than average, you could drop that time with a smaller system (as shown in the above example).

After covering the price of a solar array, New Yorkers can start to see money back in their pockets. With the average lifespan of solar panels in New York ranging from 20 to 25 years, homeowners could save around $12,416 to $19,806 on electricity. And this number only increases with state and federal incentives.

Solar Panels in New York: Rebates, Credits, and Incentives

New York has some of the best solar incentives in the country. Backed by an aggressive set of renewable standards, homeowners have access to a wide variety of financial benefits and government regulations.

Just starting out, New Yorkers should take advantage of the 30% federal solar tax credit. Homeowners using this benefit could save as much as $5,000 on the cost of a 6kW system. Additionally, the state offers its own tax credits, alongside net metering and tax exemptions. For a closer look at these incentives, check out our New York incentives guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is solar worth it in New York?

While New York has some of the highest rates on equipment and poor average peak sun, homeowners can still save big with solar panels. Those that install a 6kW system could earn back nearly $20,000 or more over 25 years.

How much does solar cost in New York?

Homeowners in New York could expect to pay about $2.86 per watt for solar energy. This equals about $17,160 for a 6kW system. This price drops with a few factors, including wattage, sunlight, location, equipment type, and installation quality.

How long does it take for solar panels to pay back in New York?

With an average annual electricity bill of $1,478.04, New Yorkers could offset the price of a 6kW solar panel system in about 11.6 years. While this is slightly longer than normal, it’s nothing to see this time drop with a smaller system.

Can you get a federal tax credit for solar panels in New York?

Homeowners in New Work can utilize the federal solar tax credit. This is a program that returns 30% of all purchases made toward a solar panel system, including equipment labor, and sales tax. Those that apply this credit to a 6kW array could save over $5,000 right off the bat.

Does New York have renewable portfolio standards (RPS)?

New York has some of the most aggressive renewable portfolio standards (RPS) in the country. The Empire State aims to produce 70% of its power from renewable sources by 2030 and 100% by 2040. This is a major reason why New York has big incentives such as state tax credits, rebates, net metering, and tax exemptions.

Should I lease solar panels in New York?

While you have the option to lease solar panels in New York, you’ll not qualify for the many incentives available to help lower that cost. Not only will this end up costing you more in the end, but you’ll also have to pay more up front.

What is net metering?

Net metering is a billing arrangement for renewable energy systems, such as solar panels, that allows the excess electricity generated by the system to be sent back to the grid for credit. The credits earned can then be used to offset the electricity consumed from the grid when the renewable energy system is not producing enough power.

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