If you don't have a good location on your property, but still would like to purchase panels, community shared solar is a good option. Here, you purchase a set of solar panels that are part of a community solar farm which is built in an optimal location with no shading.
Through net-metering, you use, keep track of, and get credited for the electricity as if the panels were on your property.
While the cost per-watt is often cheaper than traditional residential installations, the savings are generally more modest than installing them on your property due to increased maintenance costs and incentive restrictions.
Read on to learn more about incentives for Community Solar and to find a list of local solar contractors to ask them for a free solar quote (we encourage getting a few). Also, you may want to consider Residential and Subscription models as well.
Incentives for Community Solar
There are two main incentives available to homes in the area:
NYSERDA rebate - $0.35-$0.70*/watt (as of Nov 2017; rebate decreases over time)
Federal Tax Credit - 30% of cost. Valid for projects completed through 2019 (then it decreases).
*Income-eligible households (e.g. in Tompkins County, a family of four earning less than $69,503) qualify for two times the normal NYSERDA rebate (currently, $0.70/watt vs $0.35/watt).
We are aware that some Community Solar customers have claimed the NYS Tax Credit, which covers 25% of the cost, up to $5,000. However, it is our understanding that this Credit is not intended for Community Solar.
In addition to the rebates and incentives available, there are financing options to help cover the cost of the solar array.