Cost of solar panels in New York
How much is it to go solar in 2023?
Going solar in New York is about 20% cheaper than the national average. On average, residents pay $19,176 to install solar panels before the federal solar investment tax credit ($13,423 after ITC).
Your out-of-pocket investment is lower than in other states, and the state has many solar incentives to help make paying for solar more affordable, including property tax and sales tax exemptions.
- The average cost per watt is $2.94 in New York.
- The average payback period in New York is 10 years if you pay for your system upfront.
- New York residents who go solar save an estimated $24,387 over 25 years.
How much do solar panels cost in New York?
Installing residential solar panels can cost between $10,000 and $30,000 or more, though individual costs vary. Your system size greatly affects how much you pay overall. The typical system size for solar systems in New York is 6.5 kW (kilowatts).
How do you know if the average size system is enough for your home or if you need a bigger one? Check out the amount of electricity you used in the last year in kilowatt-hours (kWh). You’ll find this information in your electric account dashboard online.
Then, divide your annual kWh by 1,200 to find the system size you need. For example, if your home used 30,000 kWh last year, you would need a 25-kW system.
» WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE? kW vs. kWh
Average cost by system size in New York
|4 kW||5 kW||6 kW||7 kW||8 kW||9 kW||10 kW|
|After federal tax credits||$8,260||$10,325||$12,390||$14,455||$16,520||$18,585||$20,650|
|Before federal tax credits||$11,800||$14,750||$17,700||$20,650||$23,600||$26,550||$29,500|
|Average home size the system can support||1,100 sq. ft.||1,300 sq. ft.||1,500 sq. ft.||1,700 sq. ft.||1,900 sq. ft.||2,100 sq. ft.||2,300 sq. ft.|
Are solar panels worth it in New York?
Many New Yorkers we talk to seem happy with their savings since getting solar panels. For example, Joseph in Queens is saving “about $300 a month even with the cost of the lease.”
Before going solar, John in New York City said his electric bill would be anywhere from $100 to $300 each month. “I bought three Tesla batteries from Sunrun, and now, I noticed my bill is only $32 with tax. I'm happy, and those batteries are precious,” John told us.
“We only have the $19 service charge from the company for line upkeep,” Christopher in Warwick, who got a 400-watt system, said. “The solar panels produce enough power for our house.”
“The only thing is I'm getting a little less production than was projected,” Barry in Pawling told us. “I'm getting about 44% of my electrical needs and I'm saving about a little $1,000 a year. I expect them to be more like $1,500 a year.”
The cost of electricity is generally higher in NYC, making the return on investment (ROI) for solar potentially more favorable. While electricity might be cheaper in rural areas, the larger installations might offset the lower prices.
Cost factors of going solar in New York
The final price tag on your panels can vary a lot based on things, including your system’s power output, the quality of your equipment, the solar company you choose, permit costs and the condition of your roof. Here are some things to consider.
Typically, your equipment costs will vary depending on the size of your system and the efficiency of the panels you choose. Solar panel efficiency is how well each panel can turn sunlight into electricity. The better the efficiency, the fewer panels you need, lowering your overall cost.
New York receives an average of 3 to 3.5 peak sun hours a day.
Another equipment cost is solar batteries. These are optional, but if you do decide to add them, you could be looking at an extra cost of $7,000 to $18,000.
You can also include a monitoring system with your solar equipment. The monitoring system can alert you to problems with your solar panels, track your net metering and more. These run from $80 to $400.
» COMPARE: Most efficient solar panels
Where you live
Compared with the rest of the state, going solar is a little different in New York City. Most New Yorkers live in apartment buildings with limited roof space, so large-scale solar installations may be shared among many residents.
For instance, Paul in Queens said: “On our block here on 69th Avenue, we have a couple of brownstones that we own and on two of the two-family brownstones, we put in solar panels and we were able to divide up the panels. Eleven for the first floor and 11 for the second floor. And that gives my tenants 100% of their heating in the winter and 100% of their air conditioning in the summer. So, they pay the flat $18.62 a month, winter and summer.”
Condition of your roof
Solar panels tend to be large and heavy, and your roof needs to be able to support this weight. It’s important to get a roof inspection if you plan on getting a new solar system.
You want your roof to not only support the system but also to last. Solar panels last around 25 to 30 years, and your roof needs to last the same number of years. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay the extra expense of having your panels removed during your roof renovation.
How you pay
There are various options to help you pay for solar if you can’t pay upfront with cash. Solar loans are available in New York to finance solar panels. Other options include leasing solar equipment or getting a PPA (power purchase agreement). With a PPA, you’re basically borrowing the equipment and paying for the energy it produces.
» SOLAR PANELS: Lease vs. buy
Each town in New York has rules about permits you must acquire before installing a solar system. These permit costs can add up. Some cities in the state, like Riverhead, offer discounts on solar-related permits.
- NYC: The dense urban environment means more bureaucracy. There might be more permits required, more complex fire department regulations and potential historic preservation considerations.
- Rural areas: There are still permits and regulations, but they are often less intricate than in the city.
» GUIDE: Solar panel installation guide
Solar incentives, tax credits and rebates in New York
The federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) is the best way to save money while going solar in New York. If you install your system by the end of 2032, you can deduct 30% of the system's total cost. The 30% includes equipment, labor and permits.
All you need to do is report your system on your federal taxes. Those who wait will see the credit drop to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034.
The average ITC value in New York is $5,760 in 2023.
The Empire State offers a wide range of state-specific incentives for those going solar. You may qualify for 100% property tax and sales tax exemption for your home. This will save you thousands over the years. You can also take advantage of state tax deductions and special solar loan programs.
» EXPLORE: New York solar incentives
Compare solar installation companies in New York
Compare popular solar companies available in New York below. Read our guide to finding the best solar companies for more.
|Tesla Energy||SunPower||Sunrun||Palmetto Solar|
|Primary||Tesla Energy||Read reviews||Customer Rating|
2.2514 reviews514 reviews
|Free quote||Payment options|
Cash, lease, loan
25 years (system)
|Primary||SunPower||Read reviews||Customer Rating|
4.32,192 reviews2,192 reviews
|Free quote||Payment options|
Cash, loan, lease
|Primary||Sunrun||Read reviews||Customer Rating|
4.12,691 reviews2,691 reviews
|Free quote||Payment options|
Cash, loan, lease, PPA
|Primary||Palmetto Solar||Read reviews||Customer Rating|
3.73 reviews3 reviews
|Free quote||Payment options|
Cash, lease, loan or PPA
25 years (product and performance)
How are solar costs trending in New York?
The cost to go solar in New York has fallen 43% over the last 10 years, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
How much can I save with solar panels?
When you pay upfront, the average 25-year savings with solar is $24,387 in New York. While you may not be able to produce all of your electricity with your new solar system, you can save a lot of money. Expect to offset your electricity bill by 76% to 103%, according to EnergySage.
How does net metering work in New York?
If you don't have a solar battery to store extra juice from your solar panels, it gets sent to the power grid. That's where net metering comes into play. This system gives you a credit on your electric bill for the energy you've contributed to the grid.
If you're in New York, any residential solar setup that's 25 kilowatts or less is eligible for these net metering perks. The credits you rack up in one month will be added to the next month’s bill.
» COMPARE: Best solar monitoring systems
How many solar panels do I need for my house?
The number of solar panels you need depends on how much electricity your household uses. In New York, the average monthly energy consumption is 599 kWh. It would take about 20 panels to generate this much in a month.
Are solar panels worth it in New York City?
Some challenges to going solar in New York include space and upfront costs, but the incentives, low maintenance and long-term savings (around $24,387 over 25 years) make a compelling case for going solar.
|Upfront cost*||ITC value (30%)||Typical system size||Average cost per watt||Payback period**||Estimated net savings|
|New York||$19,176||$5,760||6.5 kW||$2.94||10 years||$24,387|
|New Hampshire||$18,916||$5,675||6.5 kW||$2.91||9 years||$28,409|
|Massachusetts||$19,110||$5,733||6.5 kW||$2.94||8 years||$33,013|
|Pennsylvania||$21,676||$6,503||8.5 kW||$2.55||10 years||$23,634|
- EcoWatch, “ Solar Panel Cost in New York .” Accessed Sept. 4, 2023.
- Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “ Homeowner’s Guide to the Federal Tax Credit for Solar Photovoltaics .” Accessed Sept. 4, 2023.
- Solar Energy Industries Association, “ Solar State By State .” Accessed Sept. 4, 2023.
- Solar Energy Industries Association, “ New York Solar .” Accessed Sept. 4, 2023.
- Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), “ New York Solar Programs .” Accessed Sept. 4, 2023.
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, “ Average Monthly Electric Bill .” Accessed Sept. 4, 2023.
- EnergySage, “ New York Solar Panels: Local Pricing and Installation Data .” Accessed Sept. 4, 2023.
- U.S. Energy Information Administration, “ Electricity .” Accessed Sept. 4, 2023.
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