Robert Lyman

Sales Manager, Eastern Markets

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New York state is an exciting market for solar and storage. With a renewable energy goal of 50% by 2030 and a target of 3,000 MW of energy storage, the state has created several programs to help make these technologies more affordable for all – until a certain point. With capacity limitations and expiring incentives New Yorkers should move quickly if they want to take advantage of costs savings with solar and battery storage. We’re breaking down these programs both at the state and federal level so that you can understand how to reap the maximum amount of savings before they’re gone.

NY SUN: New York’s Incentive Programs for Solar + Storage

NY Sun is an affordable solar program that was created in 2012 as part of New York Governor Cuomo’s Renewable Energy Vision (REV) program to create cleaner, more affordable energy for homes, businesses and communities in New York.  The program offers various incentives for solar, added storage and new solar plus storage and has been extended due to its success. Here’s a breakdown of the various programs within NY-Sun

NY Sun’s MW Block – Filling up Fast

The MW block offers financial incentives to install solar panels for residential and non-residential projects. NY Sun assigns solar targets to each region throughout the state. Incentives are then broken up into blocks that are allocated a certain number of MW’s that are eligible for incentives. Solar developers apply, on behalf of businesses and residents, for the incentives which are available on first come basis per region/sector and are rapidly filling up, especially on the commercial side. Once every block is fully subscribed, the incentives will no longer be available. Some sectors are filling up faster than others, such as commercial, so the time is ripe.

NY Storage Adder – Improving Existing Solar

Solar incentive programs in New York have been around for the last decade, positioning New York as one of the leading solar markets in the country. Now with battery storage coming into play, you may be wondering if you can get incentives for storage like you did for solar. The answer is yes, you can. NYSERDA currently provides $350 per kWh of energy storage capacity on top of the current NY-Sun solar incentive. The new incentive is available to those working with a NY Sun approved contractor, and NYSERDA’s website has information on how to apply.

Federal ITC – 30% for a Limited Time

You may be familiar with and even already taken advantage of the federal investment tax credits (ITC) for solar. Currently valued at 30%, the ITC is a dollar for dollar reduction in taxes that the project sponsor benefits from. Meaning, those that buy solar systems can today get the system for 70% of the sticker price and pay their systems off sooner – and those that lease systems enjoy a lower PPA rate. The ITC, along with the MACRS depreciation program apply to battery storage as well, pending the sources they charge from. Batteries that are charged by renewables 75% of the time are eligible for the ITC. The value of the discount varies pending where the batteries charge from, but This article by NREL explains the program in more detail.

For an example of how these savings work, see the chart below for a building that combines solar and energy storage in New York.

Sample Solar + Storage Savings in New York


Why Solar + Storage?

With the combination of state and federal incentives, New Yorkers are arguably in the best position to save money by deploying both solar and storage. By combining these two technologies, the energy generated by from solar arrays can be stored in batteries for later use while also:

  • Reducing Demand Charges – cutting costs on your electric bill
  • Load Shifting – shift your consumption to off-peak hours when energy is least expensive
  • Improving Resilience – ensuring your building’s power supply is stable
  • Maximizing Savings – The cost of storage is eligible for the ITC when combined with on-site solar

Energy storage is not limited and complements various types of installations including onsite panels, offsite arrays, and community solar projects. Storage can also integrate with other energy efficiency and demand-response measures within a building to increase energy savings without sacrificing comfort during extreme temperatures. Storage can even provide back-up power during power outages and blackouts!

Time’s Running Out

For those that want to take full advantage of the savings that solar offers, now is the time to act. To benefit from the full savings of the ITC, construction, or a financial commitment to being construction, of new solar and storage projects needs to occur this year. Any new endeavors after 2019 will see a reduced rate of 26%.

Like all tax incentives, the federal is temporary. After an initial extension, the ITC is currently set to follow a step-down schedule beginning at the end of this year. Beginning in 2020, all projects entering construction will only be eligible for a 26% discount. This further de-escalates to 22% in 2021 and after 2022, hangs at 10% for commercial and utility customers. The incentive for residential customers, unfortunately, will phase out entirely. In New York, we may see local incentives dry up even sooner pending their limited availability.

For more on how solar and storage work together in New York, check out the link below!


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