The lowdown on solar energy in New York
NEW YORK — With vast areas of farmland and many local groups and politicians focused on renewable energy, New York’s Hudson Valley has become a landmark location for solar energy. According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, in 2013, New York had 4,372 completed solar projects and by 2017 that number had jumped to 13,582 projects. A 2018 report by the Times Herald Record noted that solar energy companies pitched 125 projects in Sullivan, Ulster and Orange counties to the three utility companies in the mid-Hudson region, capable of generating enough power for more than 29,000 homes.
New York State, along with other green initiatives, offers a number of tax incentives for solar energy, including an income tax credit for 25% of the cost of the system ($5,000 maximum) for grid-connected and net-metered residential (including multi-family) solar electric and solar thermal systems; exemption from state sales taxes for certain types of solar heat and, depending on where you live, a tax exemption for the cost of solar and other renewable energy systems constructed in the state. That last benefit is meant to ensure that taxes don’t rise because owners install solar energy equipment.
According to Project Sunroof, solar energy in New York saves homeowners $19,000 on average over 20 years.
In Sullivan County, Delaware River Solar (DRS) is one such company that’s been hard at work installing solar farm projects in the area. Cindy Menges and Tanya Hubbert, with DRS, answered some questions about local solar.
How does community solar work?
An organization like Delaware River Solar begins developing solar farms in your area. You have the opportunity to subscribe to a percentage of the solar farm, based on your electric usage. After that, the farm generates electricity into a local grid, producing bill credits, which are then distributed to members. Each month, you receive credits on your electric bill that reduce your electricity charge. Overall, you’ll save 10% on your electric rate.
How many customers does one solar farm serve?
Each solar farm built by Delaware River Solar serves between 300 and 400 homeowners, renters and businesses.
How many solar farms does DRS operate?
Currently, there are five complete projects, three of which are operational and live. The other two are in the final stages of interconnection, about to go live. These five projects will serve approximately 2,000 customers and offset approximately 25 million pounds of carbon annually.
Where are the live projects?
You can find DRS solar farms on Baer Road in Callicoon, Turner Road in Lowman, Sackett Lake in Monticello, Boas Road in Mooers and Pool Brook Road in Laurens. We are also working on completing sign-ups for projects on Hospital Road in Callicoon and Kelly Bridge Road in Liberty.
If I want to sign up, does it matter where I live?
As long as you’re a NYSEG or RG&E customer, you can sign up and will be added to the next project that completes. Enrollment is open now.
So, why should I sign up for solar energy?
These projects are important to the local economy. They provide renewable energy, are environmentally responsible and local. A moment is open—in order to get the savings and the benefits, NYSEG customers need to sign up.
To learn more about solar energy in New York, visit http://bit.ly/solarTRR. To learn more about the benefits of signing up with DRS to be part of a solar energy community, email info@dela wareriversolar.com, call 845/414-3491 or visit http://www.delawareriversolar.com/sign-up/.