Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cuomo Signs Initiative to Spur Solar Installations

Aiming to create green jobs and make solar energy more affordable for homes and businesses, Governor Cuomo signed a series of bills into effect to foster solar and renewable energy development and growth across the state. Legislation has been enacted that introduces tax credits for power purchase agreements and solar energy equipment, sales tax exemptions for commercial solar equipment, and a property tax abatement for solar installations in New York City.

The governor’s NY-Sun initiative aims to foster installation of twice as much solar power capacity in New York in 2012 as compared to 2011, and quadruple that total in 2013. Ratcheting up NY-Sun-related efforts, Cuomo has announced $107 million in incentives for the installation of new solar PV systems.

Dubbed the NY-Sun Competitive PV Program, grant awards are available to applicants installing large-scale solar PV systems over 50 kW.
“The bills signed today continue to build momentum for the state’s NY-Sun Initiative by accelerating the installation of solar power while making it a more affordable option for residents and businesses,” Governor Cuomo was quoted in a press release. “Together with other NY-Sun incentives, these bills demonstrate the state’s commitment to reducing energy costs, growing our green energy sector, creating jobs, and protecting the environment.”
Francis Murray, CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) added,
“Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative continues to send the message that New York is ramping up its efforts to deploy solar energy and develop the advanced technologies to support the state’s growing clean energy economy. New York is focused on expanding and developing its renewable energy resources, ensuring the state maintains a diverse renewable energy portfolio.”

NYC Solar Photovoltaic Installations Rising

The new laws provide statewide tax credits for homeowners who lease or obtain solar power equipment through a power purchase agreements (PPA) with a term of at least ten years. Tax credits top out at $5,000 per annum and can span 14 years. The law takes effect immediately.

Reducing the upfront costs of having a solar PV system installed, solar energy systems leases and residential PPAs have been catching on fast in New York and across the US. Murray noted that, while a typical home solar PV installation might run as high as $40,000, various government incentive programs and tax credits bring that all the way down to around $16,000… and prices continues to decline.

Another new law exempts purchases and installation of commercial solar PV systems equipment from sales taxes and allows cities and municipalities to exclude these costs from local sales tax. The new law goes into effect January 1, 2013.

Thirdly, Governor Cuomo signed a bill into law that extends through 2014 the property tax abatement for solar PV generating systems in New York City. Reasonable expenditures for materials, labor costs applicable to on-site preparation, assembly and original installation, architectural and engineering services, and directly related designs and plans are all covered in the new law, which will go into effect January 1, 2013.
 "Joining legislators supporting the new solar energy legislation, Assembly Member Steve Englebright said, “We can simultaneously create new jobs and achieve the goals set for New York State’s electricity needs through clean renewable energy. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we will be doing just that by encouraging large-scale commercial investment in solar energy by eliminating all state sales taxes on commercial solar purchases and installations.”