The cost of going solar to rise

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Federal and state government low cost loans and tax incentives designed to help homeowners install solar energy are either going up in cost or going away beginning in February 2016.

Tara Bono, marketing manager at SunPower by EmPower Solar explained a federal tax credit that was due to expire this year has been extended, but it will now step down from 30 percent to 5 percent over five years.

New York State offers a 25 percent tax credit for residential solar installation, but it is limited to a maximum of $5,000, and has limits as to the size and kind of system homeowners may install. The State Energy Research and Development Authority provides cash incentives for the installation by eligible installers or contractors of new electric grid-connected solar systems that are 25 kilowatts (kW) or less for residential, and 200 kW or less for non-residential sites. Authority credits will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications will be accepted through December 31, 2023, or until funds are exhausted, whichever comes first.

Homeowners are entitled to claim this credit if they: purchased solar energy system equipment, entered into a written agreement for the lease of solar energy system equipment, or entered into a written agreement for at least 10 years for the purchase of power generated by solar energy system equipment not owned by the homeowner.

The energy system must use solar power to produce energy for heating, cooling, hot water, or electricity for residential use.  The system must also be installed and used at the homeowner’s principal residence in New York State.

The solar energy system equipment

credit is not refundable but any credit amount over the amount of tax due can be carried over for up to five years.

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