Solar panels save money, especially with incentives

WILTON – Andreas Knorr and Eva Lau had considered installing a solar system on the roof of their house for a long time, so the decision for 2019 was an easy one.

“We’ve always kept that in mind, between the environmental benefits and the economic benefits,” said Knorr, adding that both are interested in solar energy technology.

After looking for suppliers, they chose Apex Solar in Glens Falls to install the panels, a job that took a day.

Perhaps the highlight of the deal was the menu of taxes and other incentives offered as an incentive for homeowners to invest in the technology.

While the initial installation costs aren’t cheap, the savings add up after a few years.

These incentives included a 30 percent federal tax credit and a 25 percent state tax credit capped at $ 5,000. The New York State Energy Research and Development Agency also offers discounts.

Overall, Knorr believes its 40-panel system cost more than $ 30,000 to install. But the loans and discounts have brought that down a lot. He is also net metering. This means that when the electricity consumption is low, it actually feeds electricity into the grid and receives a credit for it.

Knorr assumes that the system should pay for itself in around 10 to 12 years and could take 30 years.

“It’s absolutely worth it,” he said.

Don Bell, who lives in Troy, agrees. So much so that he built a carport next to a house he owns just to put in solar panels.

The roof of the house in South Troy, which he owns and rents to relatives, wasn’t suitable for solar panels, so he had a carport built next to the house. It is designed to maximize the southern exposure, an important consideration when purchasing solar panels.

The house’s 20 modules installed by Kasselman Solar went live in January this year, meaning its federal tax credit will be 26%, slightly less than those that were activated in 2019 but are still substantial.

Bell also received the $ 2,500 NYSERDA incentive. He assumes that his system will pay for itself in eight to ten years.

“After that you get free electricity,” he said. The exception is the monthly delivery or service fee, which he continues to pay to his local utility, National Grid.

There are approximately 141,000 solar panels on the roof of residential buildings in New York state, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

The federal government’s 30% tax credit in 2019 should have fallen to 22% and expire after 2022. However, Congress kept the credit at 26% late last year and extended it to 2024. Legislators are also talking about extending past lending in 2024.

“There are a number of different incentives to encourage people to adopt solar,” said Dave Gahl, SEIA senior director of state policy.

Some of the incentives, such as the discounts offered by NYSERDA, decline after various tranches or “application blocks” are used up. They’re currently in Block 8, and once those are spent, homeowners will get a smaller discount based on the amount of electricity being generated, Gahl said.

The idea, Gahl said, is that installation costs go down due to economies of scale when solar power catches on. Therefore, the discounts should gradually decrease.

Currently, NYSERDA’s NY-Sun incentive pays off based on the capacity of a solar array. The current rate is 35 cents per watt for residential systems.

For the average 6,000 watt single family solar system, the average incentive would be $ 2,100. According to NYSERDA, the current installation cost for an average home is $ 24,000.

NYSERDA incentivized 105,140 residential solar panels from 2010 through March 2021.

The SEIA notes that the extension of the federal tax credit, which was originally due to expire next year, has resulted in an expected 25% increase in solar panels across the country.

Homeowners like Knorr suspect that the upfront cost is the main barrier to getting more people to get solar panels in their homes.

Solar technology as we know it developed back in the 1950s when Bell Labs scientists developed the first silicon plates. They have been attached to buildings since the 1970s. Their popularity has risen and fallen with the price of conventional fuels such as oil and gas, as well as incentives.

Knorr adds that solar panels also add value to your home. “I don’t see why you wouldn’t,” he said.

[email protected] 518-454 5758 @RickKarlinTU

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