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NYSERDA Launches NYS First Solar Thermal Incentive Program

To help New York State increase its use of renewable energy, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) 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 provides 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.

In addition to the NYSERDA incentives, homeowners, commercial entities and nonprofit organizations can apply for federal tax incentives, which cover 30 percent of the cost of an installed solar thermal system, and New York State tax incentives, which cover 25 percent of the installed system up to $5,000.


Electric hot water generally makes up 17 to 20 percent of a homeowner’s monthly electric bill and less than 10 percent of the monthly bill for the average commercial building. Solar thermal systems can provide approximately 50 to 80 percent of a homeowner’s hot water needs and generally have a very attractive payback period.

“New York’s first solar thermal incentive program will help homeowners and businesses reduce the use of electricity and cut energy costs,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “Through this program, NYSERDA is working to develop our clean energy economy, reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and increase our energy security.”

Program specifics include:

  • Incentives are calculated based on the estimated amount of electricity saved by installing solar thermal equipment.
  • On average, incentives for a typical residential or commercial system are expected to cover approximately 15 to 20 percent of the installed cost of a solar thermal system. The incentives are  paid directly to the eligible installer and must be passed on, in full, to customers.
  • 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. Solar thermal installer applications will be accepted through Dec. 31, 2015.
  • Incentives will be granted first-come, first served, and applications will be accepted through December 31, 2015 or until the funds are fully committed, whichever comes first.

As part of New York’s renewable energy goals, the state’s solar thermal target is to displace the equivalent of 45.54 megawatts of electrical use  by the end of 2015.

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