Are Solar Panels Worth It in Rochester, New York?


Rochester, New York may only see about 155 sunny days every year, but thanks to investments in Solar energy, it supplies a third of Monroe County’s solar capacity per year.

Needless to say, investing in solar to power homes and businesses is an ever-increasing sight in Rochester, and considering the city’s solar capacity has increased by an estimated 217% in the last five years according to the New York Solar Map, Rochester’s solar adoption is showing no signs of slowing down.

NYSERDA NY statewide distributed solar projects, shows Monroe County is one of the top 14 NYS counties with the highest MW installed solar capacity at 207.3 MW of capacity across 2,221 projects installed from 2000 through February 2024

For homeowners in Rochester, and really anywhere in Western New York, the benefits of Solar aren’t just found in its potential to save you money while helping the environment, but copious benefits introduced by the government at the federal and state level ensure Western New York’s infamously snowy winters do little to threaten its position as a place of enthusiastic solar adoption.

Are Solar Panels Worth It in Rochester New York?

While the actual amount of money solar power can save homeowners is reliant on an abundance of factors from how much energy used per month, to the size of the home or building in question, but even before considering the benefits imposed by New York State, solar energy can easily be a worthwhile and lucrative investment.

Incentives

When it comes to conventional grid electricity, New York State has some of the most expensive rates, but conversely, it also has some of the best solar incentives in the country, meaning despite a higher upfront cost, meeting your energy needs through solar power is the cheaper option.

Across New York State, the average cost of a year’s worth of Grid electricity is around $2,193; about 21 cents per kilowatt-hour. The average yearly cost of solar energy falls only around $1,000 with battery storage, and in the range of $659 without a battery for the same amount of electricity. When compared on these terms, solar energy is the clear winner; and even more so when you consider that New York State’s grid electricity rates increase an average of 3.57% every year.

Additional Solutions

For many homeowners, the main deterrent to solar adoption, despite its long-term money-saving benefits, is the upfront cost required to install, power, and maintain them. However, this is also something state benefits, and working with a NYSERDA Quality installer such as Solar by CIR can greatly reduce.

While it’s true the lack of consistent sunlight in Rochester and the rest of Western New York can mean going solar is less efficient than in other states, Solar by CIR does offer batteries and other energy storage solutions to harness leftover energy from times of the day with peak sunlight, meaning your energy efficiency doesn’t need to be dependent on when the sun wants to shine.

This, and the fact that solar energy rates are still generally lower than grid electricity regardless of time of year in New York State makes our relative lack of sunlight a non-issue when it comes to adopting solar energy.

Do Solar Panels Increase Property Taxes In New York?

One of the best benefits offered to solar adopters by New York State is the Clean Energy Systems Exception, a clause under the New York Real Property Tax Law. What this means is that solar panels are completely unable to increase a homeowner’s property tax for the first 15 years, so the value of your solar panels will not be counted towards your owed property tax collections.

The Clean Energy Systems Exception may mean solar energy can’t increase your property tax, but they do have a lucrative effect on your property value, something any homeowner will be happy to know. This is another reason why solar panels are often cited as a smart investment opportunity, in New York State specifically, the average value increase for a home with solar panels versus one without sits over 5%, and in Rochester that is no different.

What are the current Solar Incentives in New York?

While the lack of property tax increases for 15 years is already a lucrative benefit that alleviates a major concern for many homeowners, the great thing about solar adoption anywhere in New York State is the sheer quantity of benefits enforced at both a federal and state level, meaning the ways to save money on everything from taxes to the high-upfront cost of solar adoption are incredibly numerous, eliminating much of the cost associated with solar’s barrier for entry.

Tax Exemptions

In addition to property tax exemption, New York State also eliminates sales tax exemption. This means after all the other benefits and reductions have occurred, the price of your solar panels can’t be arbitrarily increased through taxes, so the final sticker price of your panels is all you’ll have to pay.

Federal Solar Tax Credit

Other great incentives are tax credits such as the Federal Solar Tax Credit, and the Solar Equipment Tax Credit, entitling homeowners to 25% and 30% tax refund opportunities respectively. A benefit provided to upstate New Yorkers, such as those living in Rochester is the Megawatt Block Incentive, where homeowners can save additional money based on how many watts of solar energy they have installed on a cash-back basis.

New York State also offers the NY-Sun initiative, which directs homeowners to participating contractors that can provide further benefits, such as the Affordable Solar Program, which lowers the cost of solar installation for households making 80% lower than the state median income.

Net Metering

On a more local level, a lucrative benefit many homeowners in Western New York enjoy is known as Net-Metering. Net Metering programs vary depending on the utility company involved, but the result is similar regardless. Net-Metering allows homeowners to save up their unused electricity, which is collected in a bank with the energy of other homeowners in a given location. When sunlight is less common, meaning solar energy is less efficient, homeowners can actually tap into that collective reserve energy supply for more reliable power that won’t increase their energy bills.

How To Get Solar in Rochester?

If you’re looking to invest in the money and environment-saving power of solar energy, Solar by CIR can help. Not only have we reliably serviced Monroe County since 2004, Solar by CIR offers expert solar installation, repair, maintenance, and other supplementary products and services to help maximize solar energy’s potential to increase your energy efficiency while decreasing your energy bills.

If you’d like to learn more about financing your home solar system in Rochester or anywhere in Western New York, please click here.

If you’d like to reach out to Solar by CIR’s Rochester location for information, a quote, or anything else related to going solar, click here.