Summer may be winding down but that isn't stopping solar from heating up in New York

Solar Companies in NY

While most of us are off doing some form of R&R in the waning days of summer, New York Governor Cuomo is hard at work putting the sun's energy to greater use for the benefit of all New Yorkers. Today he officially made law, three solar energy tax exemption bills with the backing of bi-partisan support in the New York state legislature. These three bills (details below) will help New York continue to grow its clean economy and meet the goal of his NY-Sun initiative “to quadruple* the amount of solar in New York State by 2013.”   

We commend Governor Cuomo’s leadership in taking this important next step to respond to the call from New Yorkers for more solar energy. We are confident that the Governor and legislature will build off this positive momentum and early success of the NY-Sun Initiative to hammer out a long-term program when they return after the election. Such a commitment would cement New York’s position as a national leader on solar by providing the necessary clarity, longevity and scale to develop this homegrown, job-creating industry.

New York is second in the nation (behind California) in terms of number of solar companies owned and operated in its own borders. (Image is a screenshot from the Solar Energy Industries Association, “State Solar Policy: New York” New York Solar Business Map.)

Here are more details on the solar tax exemptions signed into law by Governor Cuomo today:

  • A.34b/S.149b expands the 25% tax credit on eligible residential systems to include leased systems.
  • A.5522b/S.3203b exempts the sale and installation of commercial solar energy systems equipment from sales and compensating use taxes; grants municipalities the option to grant such exemption from local sales and use taxes.
  • A.10620/S.7711 Extends NYC property tax credit (set to expire in 2013) and extends it to 2015. 

In addition to these new laws, the state has several other policies in place to promote solar investment, including a feed-in tariff through Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), a New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) customer-sited tiered program, and net metering rules via investor-owned utilities that credit customers for excess power generated on-site.


*According to the NY-Sun Initiative FAQ page, "quadrupling" will result in approximately 120 megawatts (MW) of new solar installations (240 MW total) in New York by the end of 2013.