New York State Launches its First Solar Thermal Incentive Program

April 5, 2011

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced on April 5, 2011 that it 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 will provide 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. The state's solar thermal target is the displacement of about 46 megawatts of electrical use by the end of 2015.

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. Applications will be accepted through December 31, 2015 or until the funds are fully committed.

In addition to the NYSERDA incentives, customers can apply for federal tax incentives, which cover 30% of the cost of an installed solar thermal system, and New York State tax incentives, which cover 25% of the installed system up to $5,000. Electric hot water generally makes up 17 to 20% of a homeowner's monthly electric bill and less than 10% of the monthly bill for the average commercial building. Solar thermal systems can provide approximately 50 to 80% of a homeowner's hot water needs. See the NYSERDA press release.