Plenty of sunshine fuels New York’s solar power industries

Plenty of sunshine fuels New York's solar power industriesSome New York homeowners have not yet made the leap to solar power systems because they are confused about upfront costs, and they are especially confused about how they can receive solar-powered electricity through New York’s long winter months. In reality, New York has an abundance of the solar radiance (sunshine) needed to produce sufficient electrical power, and the costs and incentives involved in purchasing or leasing a system have never been better.

There’s plenty of sunshine in New York

Albany receives an average of 4.27 kilowatts of sunshine per square meter per day (kWh/m²/day). Germany, the world’s leader in solar-powered electricity, receives only 3 kWh/m²/day. On June 9, 2015, Germany was able to power 50 percent of the entire country’s electricity consumption just with solar power alone. If they can do that, so can you.

Leasing or buying options are available for everyone

New York offers a Solar Energy Equipment Credit for residents who purchase or lease a system, or who agree to at least a 10-year commitment to purchase solar powered electricity through a Power Purchase Agreement (see below). The credit is worth 25 percent of equipment expenditures, or up to $5,000.

  • Purchase just the power: The truth is you don’t have to purchase the system to purchase the power. RGS Energy’s “Clean Energy Program” is a “Power Purchase Agreement” (PPA). RGS will hook your home up to its solar power system, and you’ll pay just a low fixed monthly rate for your electricity. Like a lease, the PPA comes with a lifetime maintenance clause so that you will have no maintenance fees or duties. You’ll enjoy the benefits of a clean-powered home and the security of knowing it will always be well maintained. An added benefit: monthly rates can be locked in for 20 years, so your solar electric bill will stay consistent.
  • Lease a system: You can lease a system from RGS and begin saving money immediately. RGS will install the system on your home or business, and you’ll pay a low monthly rate for its use. For qualified customers, installation can be done for as little as $0, so there will be no upfront costs at all. Your excess electricity will be fed back into the utility grid system and you’ll have a lowered electric bill as a result. No matter how much grid electricity you consume, that electric utility bill will always be offset by the solar power your system generates. A lease also comes with a lifetime maintenance clause, so you’ll never have to pay for repairs or maintenance.
  • Purchase your system: Buying your system means that, eventually, your solar-powered electricity will be free.

Incentives and rebates

Whether you pay cash or finance the purchase, there are many incentives available to reduce the cost of purchasing and installing your new system.

  • Federal tax incentive: The Federal government offers a 30 percent Tax Incentive Credit reduction from your purchase, so your money savings start there.
  • New York personal income tax credit: Grid-tied and net-metered system owners qualify for this credit, which is up to 25 percent of purchase and installation costs up to $5,000.
  • New York’s Power Naturally incentive program: This program is tied to the kW capacity of each system and provides a rebate of up to $1.50 per watt of installed systems. It maxes out at 40 percent of the cost after tax incentives.

Financing options

RGS Energy has several Clean Energy Partners — financial entities that are as invested in solar power as we are. They can lead you through the purchasing process and offer excellent terms.

New York Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA) offers two unique loan options specifically designed for solar power system loans.

RGS Energy has almost 40 years of experience in installing solar energy systems throughout the country, in a wide variety of settings. To find out how solar energy could power your home, visit

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