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New York Solar Incentives

Live in another state? See all our Solar Incentives by State

All of New York can take advantage of the 30% Federal Tax Credit, which will allow you to recoup 30% of your equipment AND installation costs for an unlimited amount.

There may still be other local rebates from your city, county, or utility. Check below!

New York Solar PV Rebates & Incentives

Data from DSIRE. Last updated: 12/06/2019

NameAdministratorBudgetLast UpdatedEnd DateDSIRE ID
Summary
Residential Solar Tax CreditNew York State Department of Taxation and Finance09/27/1812/06/1980

Enacted in August 1997, this personal income tax credit originally applied to expenditures on solar-electric (PV) equipment used on residential property. The credit, equal to 25% percent of the cost of equipment and installation, was expanded in August 2005 to include solar-thermal equipment. The solar-thermal provisions apply to taxable years beginning on and after January 1, 2006. The credit is capped at $3,750 for solar-energy systems placed in service before September 1, 2006, and capped at $5,000 for solar-energy systems placed in service on or after September 1, 2006.

In August 2012 the credit was amended yet again (A.B. 34) to allow it to be claimed for systems installed under lease or power purchase agreements (PPAs) of at least 10 years in length. For third-party owned systems, the residential homeowner may claim a tax credit in the amount of lease or PPA payments made during the taxable year, for up to 15 years. The 25% incentive for such systems refers to aggregate amount of payments owed rather than the amount made during any single year. The maximum allowable tax credit amount of $5,000 applies to the total amount of credits claimed regardless of the ownership arrangement..

Solar-energy equipment is defined as "an arrangement or combination of components utilizing solar radiation, which, when installed in a residence, produces energy designed to provide heating, cooling, hot water or electricity." The credit may not be used for pool heating or other recreational applications. Any amount of credit that exceeds a taxpayer's liability in a given tax year may be carried forward for the five following taxable years. Any portion of the system cost provided by a non-taxable federal, state, or local grant is not eligible for this credit.

In general systems must comply with the 25 kW capacity limit on residential, net-metered solar-energy systems. However, in 2007 legislation was passed increasing the capacity limit to 50 kW for condominiums and cooperative housing associations. In addition, members of condominium management associations and tenant stockholders of cooperative housing associations are now allowed to claim a proportionate share of the total system expense towards the tax credit. These changes took effect beginning in the 2007 tax year, but as with other portions of the tax credit, they do not have an expiration date.

Interested participants can claim for the credit through filling out Form IT-255 (Claim for Solar Energy System Equipment), including specific instructions for the credit.

 

Local Option - Solar, Wind & Biomass Energy Systems Exemption04/30/1501/01/25192

Note: In pursuant to S.B. 07026, the expiration deadline for the eligible renewable energy projects have been extended to 01/01/2025.

Section 487 of the New York State Real Property Tax Law provides a 15-year real property tax exemption for solar, wind energy, and farm-waste energy systems constructed in New York State. As currently effective, the law is a local option exemption, meaning that local governments are permitted decide whether or not to allow it. The exemption was mandatory prior to a 1990 reenactment in which the local option clause was added. The exemption is valid unless a government opts out of the exemption, as opposed to the more common practice of requiring governments to "opt-in" in order to offer an exemption. 

As originally created, the exemption was limited to solar and wind energy systems, but in September 2002, it was expanded (S.B 6592) to include farm-waste energy systems. These are defined as systems and related equipment that generate electric energy from biogas produced by the anaerobic digestion of agricultural waste -- such as livestock manure, farming waste and food processing wastes. The maximum rated system capacity for eligible farm-waste energy systems is 400 kilowatts (kW) and systems must be connected to the electric grid and operated in accordance with the state's net metering law (Public Service Law 66-j) in order to qualify. S.B. 5966A enacted in July 2006 extended the previous December 31, 2006 in-service deadline to December 31, 2010, and A.B. 10875 enacted in August 2010 extended the deadline until December 31, 2014. S.B 07062 further extended the deadline to January 1st, 2025.

The exemption applies to systems that are (a) existing or constructed prior to July 1, 1988 (mandatory), or (b) constructed subsequent to January 1, 1991, and prior to January 1, 2025 (local option). The law intends to encourage the installation of solar, wind and farm-waste energy equipment systems and to ensure property owners that their real property taxes will not increase as a result of the installation of these systems. The amount of the exemption is equal to the increase in assessed value attributable to the solar, wind or farm-waste energy system. The definition of solar includes passive solar heating systems such as mass wall and direct gain systems. In the case of solar pool heating, solar energy collection, control, and distribution equipment is eligible; however, the pool itself does not qualify as a storage medium or otherwise. The exemption applies only to general municipal and school district taxes; it cannot be applied to special assessments or special ad valorem levies. 

With respect to systems constructed after January 1, 1991, and before January 1, 2025, each county, city, town, village and school district (except the city school districts of New York, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers) may choose whether to disallow the exemption. The option must be exercised by counties, cities, towns and villages through adoption of a local law and by school districts through adoption of a resolution. Click here for a list of local bodies that have opted not to offer the exemption. Alternately, a local government that has not opted out of the exemption is permitted to require the property owner to enter into a contract for payments in lieu of taxes, not to exceed the amount payable without the exemption. 

Eligibility definitions and guidelines solar, wind-energy, and farm waste energy equipment have been issued by the New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and are available above or on the program website.

Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC)U.S. Internal Revenue Service03/01/1812/06/19658

Note: The Consolidated Appropriations Act, signed in December 2015, included several amendments to this credit which applied only to solar technologies and PTC-eligible technologies. However, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 reinstated this tax credit for the remaining technologies that have historically been eligible for the credit.  

The federal Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC) has been amended a number of times, most recently in February 2018. The table below shows the value of the investment tax credit for each technology by year. The expiration dates are based on when construction begins.   

Technology 12/31/16 12/31/17 12/31/18 12/31/19 12/31/20 12/31/21 12/31/22 Future Years
PV, Solar Water Heating, Solar Space Heating/Cooling, Solar Process Heat 30% 30% 30% 30% 26% 22% 10% 10%
Hybrid Solar Lighting, Fuel Cells, Small Wind 30% 30% 30% 30% 26% 22% 22% N/A
Geothermal Heat Pumps, Microtubines, Combine Heat and Power Systems 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% N/A N/A
Geothermal Electric 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10% 10%
Large Wind 30% 24% 18% 12% N/A N/A N/A N/A


  • Solar Technologies. Eligible solar energy property includes equipment that uses solar energy to generate electricity, to heat or cool (or provide hot water for use in) a structure, or to provide solar process heat. Hybrid solar lighting systems, which use solar energy to illuminate the inside of a structure using fiber-optic distributed sunlight, are eligible. Passive solar systems and solar pool-heating systems are not eligible.

  • Fuel Cells. The credit is equal to 30% of expenditures, with no maximum credit. However, the credit for fuel cells is capped at $1,500 per 0.5 kilowatt (kW) of capacity. Eligible property includes fuel cells with a minimum capacity of 0.5 kW that have an electricity-only generation efficiency of 30% or higher. 

  • Small Wind Turbines. The credit is equal to 30% of expenditures, with no maximum credit for small wind turbines placed in service after December 31, 2008. Eligible small wind property includes wind turbines up to 100 kW in capacity. (In general, the maximum credit is $4,000 for eligible property placed in service after October 3, 2008, and before January 1, 2009. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 removed the $4,000 maximum credit limit for small wind turbines.) Small wind turbines must meet the performance and quality standards set forth by either the American Wind Energy Association Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard 9.1-2009 (AWEA), or the International Electrotechnical Commission 61400-1, 61400-12, and 61400-11 (IEC)
  • Geothermal Systems. The credit is equal to 10% of expenditures, with no maximum credit limit stated. Eligible geothermal energy property includes geothermal heat pumps and equipment used to produce, distribute or use energy derived from a geothermal deposit. For electricity produced by geothermal power, equipment qualifies only up to, but not including, the electric transmission stage. For geothermal heat pumps, this credit applies to eligible property placed in service after October 3, 2008. Note that the credit for geothermal property, with the exception of geothermal heat pumps, has no stated expiration date.


  • Microturbines. The credit is equal to 10% of expenditures, with no maximum credit limit stated (explicitly). The credit for microturbines is capped at $200 per kW of capacity. Eligible property includes microturbines up to two megawatts (MW) in capacity that have an electricity-only generation efficiency of 26% or higher.

  • Combined Heat and Power (CHP). The credit is equal to 10% of expenditures, with no maximum limit stated. Eligible CHP property generally includes systems up to 50 MW in capacity that exceed 60% energy efficiency, subject to certain limitations and reductions for large systems. See the note at the bottom of this page for more details. The efficiency requirement does not apply to CHP systems that use biomass for at least 90% of the system's energy source, but the credit may be reduced for less-efficient systems. This credit applies to eligible property placed in service after October 3, 2008.

  • Production Tax Credit-Eligible Technologies. Technologies that are eligible for the Production Tax Credit (PTC) were eligible to opt for the ITC in lieu of the PTC if construction commenced prior to January 1, 2015. As of January 1, 2015, only wind energy systems are eligible to claim the ITC in lieu of the PTC.  

In general, the original use of the equipment must begin with the taxpayer, or the system must be constructed by the taxpayer. The equipment must also meet any performance and quality standards in effect at the time the equipment is acquired. The energy property must be operational in the year in which the credit is first taken.

Significantly, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 repealed a previous restriction on the use of the credit for eligible projects also supported by "subsidized energy financing." For projects placed in service after December 31, 2008, this limitation no longer applies. Businesses that receive other incentives are advised to consult with a tax professional regarding how to calculate this federal tax credit.


* Combined heat and power systems can only receive the full credit if the system has an electrical capacity of 15 MW or less, and a mechanical energy capacity of of 20,000 horsepower or less, or an equivalent combination of electrical and mechanical energy capacities. Larger combined heat and power systems (up to a maximum of 50 MW and 67,000 horsepower) can qualify for a reduced tax credit equal to the ratio between the actual system capacity and 15 MW.  For example, a 45 MW system can qualify for a tax credit worth 15/45 of the otherwise allowable credit. 

History

The federal business energy investment tax credit available under 26 USC § 48 was expanded significantly by the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (H.R. 1424), enacted in October 2008. This law extended the duration -- by eight years -- of the existing credits for solar energy, fuel cells and microturbines; increased the credit amount for fuel cells; established new credits for small wind-energy systems, geothermal heat pumps, and combined heat and power (CHP) systems; allowed utilities to use the credits; and allowed taxpayers to take the credit against the alternative minimum tax (AMT), subject to certain limitations. The credit was further expanded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, enacted in February 2009. The credit was most recently amended by The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2015, which extended the expiration date, but also introduced a step-down in the value of the credit for solar technologies and PTC-eligible wind. 


Residential Energy Conservation Subsidy Exclusion (Personal)U.S. Internal Revenue Service05/16/1812/06/19666

According to Section 136 of the U.S. Code, energy conservation subsidies provided (directly or indirectly) to customers by public utilities* are non-taxable. This exclusion does not apply to electricity-generating systems registered as "qualifying facilities" under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA). If a taxpayer claims federal tax credits or deductions for the energy conservation property, the investment basis for the purpose of claiming the deduction or tax credit must be reduced by the value of the energy conservation subsidy (i.e., a taxpayer may not claim a tax credit for an expense that the taxpayer ultimately did not pay).

The term "energy conservation measure" includes installations or modifications primarily designed to reduce consumption of electricity or natural gas, or to improve the management of energy demand. Eligible dwelling units include houses, apartments, condominiums, mobile homes, boats and similar properties. If a building or structure contains both dwelling units and other units, any subsidy must be properly allocated.

The definition of "energy conservation measure" implies that utility rebates for residential solar-thermal projects and photovoltaic (PV) systems may be non-taxable. However, the IRS has not ruled definitively on this issue. Taxpayers considering using this provision for a renewable energy system should discuss the details of the project with a tax professional. Other types of utility subsidies that may come in the form of credits or reduced rates might also be non-taxable, according to IRS Publication 525.


* The term "public utility" is defined as an entity "engaged in the sale of electricity or natural gas to residential, commercial, or industrial customers for use by such customers." The term includes federal, state and local government entities.

Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS)U.S. Internal Revenue Service08/21/1812/06/19676

Note: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 increased bonus depreciation to 100% for qualified property acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017 and before January 1, 2023. 

Under the federal Modified Accelerated Cost-Recovery System (MACRS), businesses may recover investments in certain property through depreciation deductions. The MACRS establishes a set of class lives for various types of property, ranging from three to 50 years, over which the property may be depreciated. A number of renewable energy technologies are classified as five-year property (26 USC § 168(e)(3)(B)(vi)) under the MACRS, which refers to 26 USC § 48(a)(3)(A), often known as the energy investment tax credit or ITC to define eligible property. Such property currently includes*:

  • a variety of solar-electric and solar-thermal technologies
  • fuel cells and microturbines
  • geothermal electric
  • direct-use geothermal and geothermal heat pumps
  • small wind (100 kW or less)
  • combined heat and power (CHP)
  • the provision which defines ITC technologies as eligible also adds the general term "wind" as an eligible technology, extending the five-year schedule to large wind facilities as well.

In addition, for certain other types of renewable energy property, such as biomass or marine and hydrokinetic property, the MACRS property class life is seven years. Eligible biomass property generally includes assets used in the conversion of biomass to heat or to a solid, liquid or gaseous fuel, and to equipment and structures used to receive, handle, collect and process biomass in a waterwall, combustion system, or refuse-derived fuel system to create hot water, gas, steam and electricity. Marine and hydrokinetic property includes facilities that utilize waves, tides, currents, free-flowing water, or differentials in ocean temperature to generate energy. It does not include traditional hydropower that uses dams, diversionary structures, or impoundments.

The 5-year schedule for most types of solar, geothermal, and wind property has been in place since 1986. The federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) classified fuel cells, microturbines and solar hybrid lighting technologies as five-year property as well by adding them to § 48(a)(3)(A). This section was further expanded in October 2008 by the addition of geothermal heat pumps, combined heat and power, and small wind under The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008.

Bonus Depreciation

Bonus Depreciation has been sporadically available at different levels during different years. Most recently, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 increased bonus depreciation to 100% for qualified property acquired and placed in service after September 27, 2017 and before January 1, 2023.

Bonus Depreciation History

The 50% first-year bonus depreciation provision enacted in 2008 was extended (retroactively for the entire 2009 tax year) under the same terms by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1), enacted in February 2009. It was renewed again in September 2010 (retroactively for the entire 2010 tax year) by the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (H.R. 5297). In December 2010 the provision for bonus depreciation was amended and extended yet again by the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853). Under these amendments, eligible property placed in service after September 8, 2010 and before January 1, 2012 was permitted to qualify for 100% first-year bonus depreciation. The December 2010 amendments also permitted bonus depreciation to be claimed for property placed in service during 2012, but reverted the allowable amount from 100% to 50% of the eligible basis. The 50% first-year bonus depreciation allowance was further extended for property placed in service during 2013 by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8, Sec. 331) in January 2013. The Tax Increase Prevention Act Of 2014 (H.R. 5771, Sec. 125)extended  these provisions through to December 31, 2014, and thus retroactively for the 2014 tax year.

For more information on the federal MACRS, see IRS Publication 946, IRS Form 4562: Depreciation and Amortization, and Instructions for Form 4562. The IRS web site provides a search mechanism for forms and publications. Enter the relevant form, publication name or number, and click "GO" to receive the requested form or publication. For guidance on bonus depreciation, including information relating to the election to claim either 50% or 100% bonus depreciation, retroactive elections to claim 50% bonus depreciation for property placed in service during 2010, and eligible property, please see IRS Rev. Proc. 2011-26.


*Note that the definitions of eligible technologies included in this entry are somewhat simplified versions of those contained in tax code, which often contain additional caveats, restrictions, and modifications. Those interested in this incentive should review the relevant sections of the code in detail prior to making business decisions.

NY-Sun PV Incentive Program (Residential, Low-Income, and Small Business)New York State Energy Research and Development Authority$762 M through 202307/02/1812/29/23701

NOTE: Effective June 2018, the program was revised with changes to system size caps, new incentive rates, removal of 110% demand rule, and other minor changes.  

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) through NY Sun Incentive Program (PON 2112) provides cash incentives for the installation of approved, grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) systems. The program was re-launched in 2014 with a goal of supporting 3.175 GW of installed capacity by 2023. The program provides cash incentives for residential solar systems that are 25 kW or less, and for small commercial systems in Upstate and PSEG Long Island region that are 750kW or less and non-residential sites in the Con Ed region up to 7.5MW or less.  NY-Sun solar incentives are designed to phase out in a controlled and predictable manner over time depending on installed solar capacity in the given region. 

Program Description 

NYSERDA has established separate megawatt (MW) budgets for different regions of the state. These MW block targets are specified for three regions: areas served by Con Edison, areas served by PSEG Long Island, and for the rest of the state. The block incentives are set based on historical demand, market penetration, installed cost per watt, and equity on a regional basis. The incentives available within each MW Block are scheduled to step down over time as certain targets are met.

Information on the MW block design, including real-time data on the current incentive levels for Upstate can be found by visiting NYSERDA dashboard and similar dashboard for other regions. 

Customers of investor-owned utilities, including Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, New York State Electric & Gas Corporation, Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation, Orange and Rockland Utilities, Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation, and PSEG Long Island are eligible to participate, as well as customers of NYPA and municipally-owned utilities.

Affordable Solar

The program provides additional incentives for low-to-moderate income households. To be eligible, the applicant must have a household income that is less than 80% of the State Median Income (SMI) or Area Median Income (AMI), whichever is greater. Such qualifying households receive double the standard incentive amount for systems up to 6kW.  Additional incentives includes a standard incentive of $0.80/W in upstate and Long Island region and $0.40/W in Long Island Region. 

Residential, small commercial, and not-for-profit organizations are also eligible for low-interest rate financing. More information about financing is available here

Incentive Payment

Contractors reserve incentives for approved systems for customers on a first-come, first-served basis for as long as funds are available. Prior to installing a PV system, contractors must provide customers with information and basic assistance in understanding possible energy efficiency improvements and benefits, although energy efficiency measure installation is not required for program participation.

Incentives are paid to the contractor after the PV system has been connected to the utility grid. Small commercial projects have the option the option to receive the incentive in two increments based on installation milestones. The first incentive payment includes 75% of the total incentive amount approved by NYSERDA, which is paid out after all system components are delivered to a customer’s site. The second incentive payment includes remaining 25%, which are released after a PV system has been connected to the utility grid and inspected by NYSERDA or its representatives.

System Eligibility 

The program supports a maximum of 25 kW solar PV systems for residential sector and 750 kW systems for non-residential sector (7.5MW in Con Ed). Incentives are only available to eligible contractors, and incentives must be passed on in full amount to the customers. Residential PV systems must be sized to meet specific site energy needs (local load or demand) and may not exceed 110% of the demonstrated energy demand for the site, taking into account any other on-site electrical power generation systems. Incentive levels will be reduced in proportion to potential output losses of greater than 20%. 

Contractor/ Builder Requirements

Contractor/Builder eligibility is determined and maintained based on factors such as acceptance of all program terms and conditions, training, installation experience, track record related to utility interconnections, overall performance, monitoring, customer references, customer satisfaction, and commitment to become certified through a national certification program. NYSERDA provides accredited training opportunities for PV installers. Training opportunities are posted on NYSERDA's Renewable Energy Training web site. All builders must have credentialing from Underwriters Labs (UL), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) or the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) in order to qualify for the program.


Residential Energy Conservation Subsidy Exclusion (Corporate)U.S. Internal Revenue Service05/16/1812/06/19727

According to Section 136 of the U.S. Code, energy conservation subsidies provided (directly or indirectly) to customers by public utilities* are non-taxable. This exclusion does not apply to electricity-generating systems registered as "qualifying facilities" under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA). If a taxpayer claims federal tax credits or deductions for the energy conservation property, the investment basis for the purpose of claiming the deduction or tax credit must be reduced by the value of the energy conservation subsidy (i.e., a taxpayer may not claim a tax credit for an expense that the taxpayer ultimately did not pay).

The term "energy conservation measure" includes installations or modifications primarily designed to reduce consumption of electricity or natural gas, or to improve the management of energy demand. Eligible dwelling units include houses, apartments, condominiums, mobile homes, boats and similar properties. If a building or structure contains both dwelling units and other units, any subsidy must be properly allocated.

The definition of "energy conservation measure" implies that utility rebates for residential solar-thermal projects and photovoltaic (PV) systems may be non-taxable. However, the IRS has not ruled definitively on this issue. Taxpayers considering using this provision for a renewable energy system should discuss the details of the project with a tax professional. Other types of utility subsidies that may come in the form of credits or reduced rates might also be non-taxable, according to IRS Publication 525. 


* The term "public utility" is defined as an entity "engaged in the sale of electricity or natural gas to residential, commercial, or industrial customers for use by such customers." The term includes federal, state and local government entities.

Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit (PTC)U.S. Internal Revenue Service02/28/1812/06/19734

Note: Wind facilities commencing construction by December 31, 2019, and all other qualifying facilities commencing construction by January 1, 2018 can qualify for this credit. The value of the credit for wind steps down in 2017, 2018 and 2019. See below for more information. For all other technologies, the credit is not available for systems whose construction commenced after December 31, 2017. 

The federal renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC) is an inflation-adjusted per-kilowatt-hour (kWh) tax credit for electricity generated by qualified energy resources and sold by the taxpayer to an unrelated person during the taxable year. The duration of the credit is 10 years after the date the facility is placed in service for all facilities placed in service after August 8, 2005.

Originally enacted in 1992, the PTC has been renewed and expanded numerous times, most recently by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (H.R. 1 Div. B, Section 1101 & 1102) in February 2009 (often referred to as "ARRA"), the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8, Sec. 407) in January 2013, the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (H.R. 5771, Sec. 155) in December 2014, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (H.R. 2029, Sec. 301) in December 2015, and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (H.R. 1892 Sec. 40409).

Amount

The tax credit amount is $0.015 per kWh in 1993 dollars for some technologies and half of that amount for others. The amount is adjusted for inflation by multiplying the tax credit amount by the inflation adjustment factor for the calendar year in which the sale occurs, rounded to the nearest 0.1 cents. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) publishes the inflation adjustment factor no later than April 1 each year in the Federal Register. For 2018, the inflation adjustment factor used by the IRS is 1.5792.

Applying the inflation-adjustment factor for the 2017 calendar year, and the 20% step-down required by H.R. 2029, the production tax credit amount is as follows:

  • $0.019/kWh for wind

The tax credit is phased down for wind facilities and expires for other technologies commencing construction after December 31, 2016. The phase-down for wind facilities is described as a percentage reduction in the tax credit amount described above:

  • For wind facilities commencing construction in 2017, the PTC amount is reduced by 20%
  • For wind facilities commencing construction in 2018, the PTC amount is reduced by 40%
  • For wind facilities commencing construction in 2019, the PTC amount is reduced by 60%

Note that the exact amount of the production tax credit for the tax years 2017-2019 will depend on the inflation-adjustment factor used by the IRS in the respective tax years. 

Duration

The duration of the credit is 10 years after the date the facility is placed in service. Two exceptions applied to facilities placed in service more than a decade ago:

  • open-loop biomass, geothermal, small irrigation hydro, landfill gas, and municipal solid waste combustion facilities placed into service after October 22, 2004, and before enactment of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, on August 8, 2005, were only eligible for the credit for a 5-year period, and
  • open-loop biomass facilities placed in service before October 22, 2004, were eligible for the 5-year period beginning January 1, 2005.

Investment Tax Credit in Lieu of Claiming the PTC

Renewable energy facilities placed in service after 2008 and commencing construction prior to 2018 (or 2020 for wind facilities) may elect to make an irrevocable election to claim the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in lieu of the PTC. Wind facilities making such an election will have the ITC amount reduced by the same phase-down specified above for facilities commencing construction in 2017, 2018, or 2019. 

Process for Claiming

The credit is claimed by completing Form 8835, "Renewable Electricity Production Credit," and Form 3800, "General Business Credit." For more information, contact IRS Telephone Assistance for Businesses at 1-800-829-4933.

Recent Legislative Changes

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016 (H.R. 2029, Sec. 301) extended both the PTC and permission for PTC-eligible facilities to claim the Investment Tax Credit in lieu of the PTC through the end of 2016 (and the end of 2019 for wind facilities). The Act also created a phase-down in the PTC amount for wind facilities commencing construction in 2017, 2018, or 2019. Prior to the legislation, enacted in December 2015, the PTC had expired December 31, 2014. The effective date is January 1, 2015, meaning any qualifying project that commenced construction at any point in 2015 is eligible to claim the PTC.

The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (H.R. 5771, Sec. 155) extended both the PTC and permission for PTC-eligible facilities to claim the Investment Tax Credit in lieu of the PTC through the end of 2014. Prior to the legislation, the PTC had expired December 31, 2013. Although not enacted until December 2014, the effective date was January 1, 2014, meaning any qualifying project that commenced construction at any point in 2014 was eligible to claim the PTC.

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 revised the PTC by removing "placed in service" deadlines and replacing them with deadlines that use the commencing of construction as a basis for determining facility eligibility. It also contained language revising the definition of the term "municipal solid waste" to exclude "paper that is commonly recycled and which has been segregated from other solid waste.” The definition change for municipal solid waste applies to electricity produced and sold after the enactment date of the legislation (January 2, 2013) in taxable years ending after that date.

Determination of Commencing Construction 

To claim the PTC, construction on an eligible project must have “commenced construction” prior to January 1, 2015. The IRS has issued guidance on how it will evaluate whether construction has commenced in IRS Notices 2013-292013-60, 2014-46, 2015-25, and 2016-31 (please see the full text of these notices for complete information on determining the commencing of construction). The guidelines establish two methods—a “physical work” test and a 5% safe harbor (see sections below for details)—to determine when construction has begun on a qualified facility. Meeting the criteria of either method is sufficient to demonstrate that construction has commenced. 

Both methods require that a taxpayer make continuous progress towards completion once construction has begun by meeting the Continuous Construction Test (to satisfy the Physical Work Test) or the Continuous Efforts Test (to satisfy Safe Harbor).  If a taxpayer places a facility in service during a calendar year that is no more than four calendar years after the calendar year during which construction of the facility began, the facility will be considered to satisfy the Continuity Safe Harbor

Physical Work Test

The physical work test provides that a taxpayer may establish the beginning of construction by beginning "physical work of a significant nature.” The physical work test is based on the nature of the work performed rather than the cost of the work; if the work performed is of a significant nature, then “there is no fixed minimum amount of work or monetary or percentage threshold required to satisfy the Physical Work Test” (Notice 2014-46).

Notice 2013-29 provides several examples of actions that constitute work of a significant nature, including:

  • for a facility that produces electricity from a wind turbine, the beginning of the excavation for the foundation, the setting of anchor bolts into the ground, or the pouring of the concrete pads of the foundation;
  • physical work on a custom-designed transformer that steps up the voltage of electricity produced at the facility to the voltage needed for transmission; and
  • beginning construction of roads integral to the activity performed by the facility including onsite roads used for moving materials to be processed (e.g., biomass) and roads for equipment to operate and maintain the facility. 

Safe Harbor

Safe Harbor with respect to a facility is demonstrated by showing that 5% or more of the total cost of the facility was paid or incurred.


Energy-Efficient Mortgages06/24/1512/06/19742

Homeowners can take advantage of energy efficient mortgages (EEM) to either finance energy efficiency improvements to existing homes, including renewable energy technologies, or to increase their home buying power with the purchase of a new energy efficient home. The U.S. federal government supports these loans by insuring them through Federal Housing Authority (FHA) or Veterans Affairs (VA) programs. This allows borrowers who might otherwise be denied loans to pursue energy efficiency, and it secures lenders against loan default.

FHA Energy Efficient Mortgages
The FHA allows lenders to add up to 100% of energy efficiency improvements to an existing mortgage loan with certain restrictions. FHA mortgage limits vary by county, state and the number of units in a dwelling. See website for more details. These mortgages were previously limited to $8,000. In June 2009, HUD issued Mortgage Letter 2009-18 which announced the removal of the dollar cap. The maximum amount of the portion of an energy efficient mortgage allowed for energy improvements is now the lesser of 5% of:

  • The value of the property,
  • 115% of the median area price of a single-family dwelling, or
  • 150% of the Freddie Mac conforming loan limit

Loan amounts may not exceed the projected savings of the energy efficiency improvements. These loans may be combined with FHA 203 (h) mortgages available to victims of presidentially-declared disasters and with financing offered through the FHA 203 (k) rehabilitation program. FHA loan limits do not apply to the EEM. Homebuyers must submit a Home Energy Rating (HER), contractor bids, and a FHA B Worksheet. This process may become streamlined in 2009 as a result of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which requires HUD to report to congress with ways to remove the administrative barriers and increase consumer participation and awareness of these financing options.

Borrowers may include closing costs and the up-front mortgage insurance premium in the total cost of the loan. The loan is available to anyone who meets the income requirements for FHA’s Section 203 (b), provided the applicant can meet the monthly mortgage payments. New and existing owner-occupied homes of up to two units qualify for this loan. Cooperative units are not eligible. Homebuyers should submit applications to their local HUD Field Office through an FHA-approved lending institution.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Energy Efficient Mortgages
The VA insures EEMs to be used in conjunction with VA loans either for the purchase of existing homes or for refinancing loans secured by the dwelling. Homebuyers may borrow up to $3,000 if only documentation of improvement costs or contractor bids is submitted, or up to $6,000 if the projected energy savings are greater than the increase in mortgage payments. Loans may exceed this amount at the discretion of the VA. Applicants may not include the cost of their own labor in the total amount. No additional home appraisal is needed, but applicants must submit a HER, contractor bids and certain other documentation. The VA insures 50% of the loan if taken by itself, but it may insure less if the total value of the mortgage exceeds a certain amount.

This mortgage is available to qualified military personnel, reservists and veterans. Applicants should secure a certificate of eligibility from their local lending office and submit it to a VA-approved private lender. If the loan is approved, the VA guarantees the loan when it is closed.

Conventional EEMs
Conventional mortgages are not backed by a federal agency. Private lenders sell loans to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which in turn allows homebuyers to borrow up to 15% of an existing home’s appraised value for improvements documented by a HER.

Fannie Mae also lends up to 5% for Energy Star new homes. Fannie Mae EEMs are available to single-family, owner-occupied units, and Fannie Mae provides EEMs to those whose income might otherwise disqualify them from receiving the loans by allowing approved lenders to adjust borrowers’ debt-to-income ratio by 2%. The value of the improvements is immediately added to the total appraised value of the home.

Freddie Mac offers EEMs for one- to four-unit dwellings and also helps raise the effective income of the borrower to qualifying levels by allowing lenders to increase the borrower’s income by a dollar amount equal to the estimated energy savings. Any energy efficiency improvements can qualify, and these mortgages can be combined with both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. Borrowers should apply directly to the lender. Click here for more details.

ENERGY STAR Partnership for Lenders
To promote EEMs and lenders who offer them, the federal ENERGY STAR program offers a partnership program for lenders who provide EEMs to borrowers. Becoming a partner allows lenders to utilize the Energy Star brand to promote themselves as Energy Star partners offering EEMs. To become a lender, partner lenders must first provide proof that they know how to write EEMs. To maintain their partnership benefits, lenders must write a certain number of EEMs per year. Energy Star does not have a lender certification program or process. Click here for more information about ENERGY STAR's lender partnership program, and here to access the partner locator tool. As of August 2011, the federal ENERGY STAR program lists 25 lenders who offer EEMs and/or ENERGY STAR mortgages to applicants buying homes that have earned the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR requires that its lender partners provide EEMs to qualified borrowers regardless of whether it is an FHA EEM, Fannie Mae EEM, or VA EEM.

USDA - Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) GrantsU.S. Department of Agriculture$600 million for FY 201808/21/1812/06/19917

Note: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development issues periodic Notices of Solicitation of Applications for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) in the Federal Register. The FY 2018 solicitation for the REAP program includes a total budget of approximately $800 million. 

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses in America to purchase, install, and construct renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements to non-residential buildings and facilities, use renewable technologies that reduce energy consumption, and participate in energy audits and renewable energy development assistance.

Renewable energy projects for the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loan and Grant Program include wind, solar, biomass and geothermal, and hydrogen derived from biomass or water using wind, solar, or geothermal energy sources. These grants are limited to 25% of a proposed project's cost, and a loan guarantee may not exceed $25 million. The combined amount of a grant and loan guarantee must be at least $5,000 (with the grant portion at least $1,500) and may not exceed 75% of the project’s cost. In general, a minimum of 20% of the funds available for these incentives will be dedicated to grants of $20,000 or less. For more information on grant, loan guarantees, loan financing, and opportunities for combinations thereof, visit the USDA website. 

Application due dates are published annually in the Notice of Funding Availability. 

Eligibility

Grants and Guaranteed Loans are generally available to small businesses and agricultural producers and other entities as determined by USDA. To be eligible for REAP grants and guaranteed loans, applicants must demonstrate sufficient revenue to cover any operations and maintenance expense as well as any applicable debt service of the project for the duration of the guaranteed loan or grant. Rural small businesses must be located in rural areas, but agricultural producers may be located in non-rural areas.

Eligible project costs include purchasing energy efficiency improvements or a renewable energy system, energy audits or assessments, permitting and licensing fees, and business plans and retrofitting. For new construction the replacement of older equipment with more efficient equipment may be eligible as a project cost only when a new facility is planned to be more efficient and similarly sized than the older facility. Working capital and land acquisition are only eligible for loan guarantees.

For more information regarding applicant and project eligibility for loans and grants, visit the USDA REAP eligibility webpage, read the eligibility requirements in the most recent Solicitation of Applications for REAP funding in the Federal Registry, and/or contact your state rural energy coordinator.

Regional rural energy coordinators provide loan and grant applications upon request.

History

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (H.R. 2419), enacted by Congress in May 2008, converted the federal Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program,* into the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Similar to its predecessor, the REAP promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy for agricultural producers and rural small businesses through the use of (1) grants and loan guarantees for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems, and (2) grants for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance. Congress has allocated funding for the new program in the following amounts: $55 million for FY 2009, $60 million for FY 2010, $70 million for FY 2011, and $70 million for FY 2012. REAP is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In addition to these mandatory funding levels, up to $25 million in discretionary funding may be issued each year. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8) extended discretionary funding for FY 2013. The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the USDA to offer these programs and removed the mandate to offer grants for feasibility studies.

* The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program was created by the USDA pursuant to Section 9006 of the 2002 federal Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002. Funding in the amount of $23 million per year was appropriated for each fiscal year from FY 2003-2007. In March 2008, the USDA announced that it would accept $220.9 million in applications for grants, loan guarantees, and loan/grant combination packages under the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program. The application deadline was June 16, 2008.

Land grant colleges and universities are referred to in the summary table as "schools" and "institutional" eligible sectors. K-12 schools are not eligible for this grant.

Tribal Energy Program GrantU.S. Department of Energy03/03/1712/06/19918

The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Tribal Energy Program promotes tribal energy sufficiency, economic growth, and employment on tribal lands through the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. The program provides financial assistance, technical assistance, and education and training to tribes for the evaluation and development of renewable energy resources and energy efficiency measures.

DOE's Tribal Energy Program consists of program management through DOE headquarters, program implementation and project management through DOE's field offices, and technical support through DOE laboratories. Program management for the Tribal Energy Program is carried out by DOE's Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program, which provides programmatic direction and funding to DOE field offices for program implementation. DOE's Golden Field Office solicits, awards, administers, and manages financial assistance agreements.

Program funding is awarded through a competitive process. Click here to view current program funding opportunities, and here to apply for technical assistance.

Solar Sales Tax ExemptionNew York State Department of Taxation and Finance12/03/1512/06/191234

New York enacted legislation in July 2005 exempting the sale and installation of residential solar-energy systems from the state's sales and compensating use taxes. The exemption was extended to non-residential solar systems in August 2012 (S.B. 3203), effective beginning January 1, 2013. In 2015 the exemption was extended to solar systems that are owned by third party owners, who provide solar electricity to residential and commercial users. Both solar lease payments and the receipts of the sale of electricity by such systems are exempt from state sales and use tax.  

For both residential and non-residential systems, the exemption applies to solar-energy systems that utilize solar radiation to produce energy designed to provide heating, cooling, hot water and/or electricity. It does not include equipment that is part of a "non-solar energy system". For residential systems additional language prohibits the exemption from being claimed for a system that uses "any sort of recreational facility or equipment as a storage medium".  This language is not replicated in the non-residential exemption, thus it would appear that a system used to heat a non-residential pool would qualify while one used to heat a residential pool would not. There is not an expiration date for this incentive.*


The law also permits local governments (municipalities and counties) to grant an exemption from local sales taxes. If a city with a population of 1 million or more chooses to grant the local exemption, it must enact a specific resolution that appears in the state law. The New York Department of Taxation and Finance publishes a variety of sales tax reports detailing local tax rates and exemptions, including those for solar energy equipment. The solar sales tax list (Publication 718-S) is updated several times per year. The New York Department of Taxation and Finance has issued a small amount of additional guidance and instructions on how to claim the residential exemption in Publication TSB-M-05(11)S. In December 2012 the department issued similar instructions on how the claim the commercial exemption in Publication TSB-M-12(14)S.  Effective December 2015, the department issued guidance PUB 718-PPA for claiming sales and use tax exemption for sales of electricity generated through solar systems and sold under a solar power purchase agreement (PPA). More information, including a list of jurisdictions that provide an exemption, can be found here.  A Sales Tax Exemption Certificate is required to claim sales and use tax exemption for solar energy related equipment and other purchases.   


*The New York Code contains duplicate sections NYCL Tax § 1115 (ee). The first pertains to the sales tax exemption for residential solar energy systems and contains no expiration date, while the second contains rules for an unrelated exemption with expiration dates of December 1, 2014, and December 1, 2016. This appears to be a mistake that will not affect the sales tax exemption for residential solar energy equipment.

Residential Renewable Energy Tax CreditU.S. Internal Revenue Service03/23/1812/31/211235

Note: The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed in February 2018, reinstated the tax credit for fuel cells, small wind, and geothermal heat pumps. The tax credit for all technologies now features a gradual step down in the credit value. 

A taxpayer may claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for a system that serves a dwelling unit located in the United States that is owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer. Expenditures with respect to the equipment are treated as made when the installation is completed. If the installation is at a new home, the "placed in service" date is the date of occupancy by the homeowner. Expenditures include labor costs for on-site preparation, assembly or original system installation, and for piping or wiring to interconnect a system to the home. If the federal tax credit exceeds tax liability, the excess amount may be carried forward to the succeeding taxable year. The maximum allowable credit, equipment requirements and other details vary by technology, as outlined below.

Solar-electric property

  • 30% for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019
  • 26% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2019 and before 01/01/2021
  • 22% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2020 and before 01/01/2022
  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, and on or before December 31, 2021.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.

Solar water-heating property

  • 30% for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019
  • 26% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2019 and before 01/01/2021
  • 22% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2020 and before 01/01/2022
  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, and on or before December 31, 2021.
  • Equipment must be certified for performance by the Solar Rating Certification Corporation (SRCC) or a comparable entity endorsed by the government of the state in which the property is installed.
  • At least half the energy used to heat the dwelling's water must be from solar in order for the solar water-heating property expenditures to be eligible.
  • The tax credit does not apply to solar water-heating property for swimming pools or hot tubs.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.

Fuel cell property

  • 30% for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019
  • 26% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2019 and before 01/01/2021
  • 22% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2020 and before 01/01/2022
  • The maximum credit is $500 per half kilowatt (kW).
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, on or before December 31, 2021.
  • The fuel cell must have a nameplate capacity of at least 0.5 kW of electricity using an electrochemical process and an electricity-only generation efficiency greater than 30%.
  • In case of joint occupancy, the maximum qualifying costs that can be taken into account by all occupants for figuring the credit is $1,667 per 0.5 kW. This does not apply to married individuals filing a joint return. The credit that may be claimed by each individual is proportional to the costs he or she paid.
  • The home served by the system must be the taxpayer’s principal residence.

Small wind-energy property

  • 30% for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019
  • 26% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2019 and before 01/01/2021
  • 22% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2020 and before 01/01/2022
  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2008, on or before December 31, 2021.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.

Geothermal heat pumps

  • 30% for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019
  • 26% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2019 and before 01/01/2021
  • 22% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2020 and before 01/01/2022
  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2008, and on or before December 31, 2021.
  • The geothermal heat pump must meet federal Energy Star criteria.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.

Significantly, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 repealed a previous limitation on the use of the credit for eligible projects also supported by "subsidized energy financing." For projects placed in service after December 31, 2008, this limitation no longer applies.

Energy Storage

The federal tax code does not explicitly reference energy storage, so stand-alone energy storage systems do not qualify for the tax credit. However, the IRS issued Private Letter Rulings in 2013 and 2018, which address energy storage paired with PV systems. In both cases, the IRS ruled that the energy storage equipment when paired with PV met the statutory definition of a "qualified solar electric property expenditure," as was eligible for the tax credit. It is important to note that Private Letter Rulings only apply to the taxpayer who requested it, and do not establish precedent. Any taxpayer considering the purchase of an energy storage system should consult their accountant or other tax professional before claiming a tax credit.  


History

Established by The Energy Policy Act of 2005, the federal tax credit for residential energy property initially applied to solar-electric systems, solar water heating systems and fuel cells. The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 extended the tax credit to small wind-energy systems and geothermal heat pumps, effective January 1, 2008. Other key revisions included an eight-year extension of the credit to December 31, 2016; the ability to take the credit against the alternative minimum tax; and the removal of the $2,000 credit limit for solar-electric systems beginning in 2009. The credit was further enhanced in February 2009 by The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which removed the maximum credit amount for all eligible technologies (except fuel cells) placed in service after 2008.

Energy Conservation Improvements Property Tax ExemptionNew York State Office of Real Property Tax Services01/24/1812/06/191596

NOTE: AB 260 enacted in October 2017 amends the property tax exemption adding micro-hydro, fuel cell, micro combined heat and power, and electric energy storage system and storage equipment to be eligible for tax exemption for any increase in the value through the addition of these systems for period of fifteen years. 

Qualifying energy-conservation improvements to homes are exempt from real property taxation to the extent that the addition would increase the value of the home. The exemption includes general municipal property taxes, school district taxes, and special ad valorem taxes, but does not apply to special assessments. Eligible properties include single-family to four-family dwellings. The exemption applies directly to a variety of equipment and measures, but the statute also states that any conservation-related state or federal tax credit or deduction is also exempt from New York's property tax under this statute. The state Tax Assessor's Manual also specifically identifies solar and wind energy systems as eligible for the exemption.

Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs)U.S. Internal Revenue Service08/15/1812/06/192510

Note: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 repealed section 54C of the Internal Revenue Code, which authorized the use of New CREBs. IRS Notice 2018-15  announced that the IRS will no longer process applications for or issue allocations of New CREBs. The summary below describes CREBs before they were repealed, and is here for historical purposes only. 

Clean renewable energy bonds (CREBs) may be used by certain entities -- primarily in the public sector -- to finance renewable energy projects. The list of qualifying technologies is generally the same as that used for the federal renewable energy production tax credit (PTC). CREBs may be issued by electric cooperatives, government entities (states, cities, counties, territories, Indian tribal governments or any political subdivision thereof), and by certain lenders.  The bondholder receives federal tax credits in lieu of a portion of the traditional bond interest, resulting in a lower effective interest rate for the borrower.* The issuer remains responsible for repaying the principal on the bond.

The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (Div. A, Sec. 107) allocated $800 million for new Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs). In February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Div. B, Sec. 1111) allocated an additional $1.6 billion for New CREBs, for a total New CREB allocation of $2.4 billion. The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 also extended the deadline for previously reserved allocations ("Old CREBs") until December 31, 2009, and addressed several provisions in the existing law that previously limited the usefulness of the program for some projects. A separate section of the law extended CREBs eligibility to marine energy and hydrokinetic power projects.

Participation in the program is limited by the volume of bonds allocated by Congress for the program. Participants must first apply to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for a CREBs allocation, and then issue the bonds within a specified time period. The New CREBs allocation totaling $2.4 billion does not have a defined expiration date under the law; however, recent IRS solicitations for new applications require the bonds to be issued within 3 years after the applicant receives notification of an approved allocation (see History section below for information on previous allocations). Public power providers, governmental bodies, and electric cooperatives are each reserved an equal share (33.3%) of the New CREBs allocation. IRS Notice 2015-12, however, divided the remaining volume cap differently: $516,565,691.35 for public power providers, $597,134,963.60 for governmental bodies, and $280,778,469.00 for cooperative utilities.

The tax credit rate is set daily by the U.S. Treasury Department. Under past allocations, the credit could be taken quarterly on a dollar-for-dollar basis to offset the tax liability of the bondholder. However, under the new CREBs allocation, the credit has been reduced to 70% of what it would have been otherwise. Other important changes are described in IRS Notice 2009-33.

CREBs differ from traditional tax-exempt bonds in that the tax credits issued through CREBs are treated as taxable income for the bondholder. The tax credit may be taken each year the bondholder has a tax liability as long as the credit amount does not exceed the limits established by the federal Energy Policy Act of 2005. Treasury rates for prior CREB allocations, or "Old" CREBs are available here, while rates for New CREBs and other qualified tax credit bonds are available here.

In April 2009, the IRS issued Notice 2009-33, which solicited applications for the New CREB allocation and provided interim guidance on certain program rules and changes from prior CREB allocations. The expiration date for New CREB applications under this solicitation was August 4, 2009. Further guidance on CREBs is available in IRS Notices 2006-7 and 2007-26 to the extent that the program rules were not modified by 2008 and 2009 legislation. In October 2009, the Department of Treasury announced the allocation of $2.2 billion in new CREBs for 805 projects across the country. A new solicitation (IRS Announcement 2010-54) was issued in September 2010 for roughly $191 million in unallocated New CREB bond volume available only to electric cooperatives. The award announcement for this allocation was made in March 2011. It remains to be seen if or when the IRS will issue new funding announcements for Old CREB allocations which were not issued by the December 31, 2009 deadline, or New CREB allocations which miss the three-year issuance period.

History
The federal Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) established Clean Energy Renewable Bonds (CREBs) as a financing mechanism for public sector renewable energy projects. This legislation originally allocated $800 million of tax credit bonds to be issued between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2007. Following the enactment of the federal Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, the IRS made an additional $400 million in CREBs financing available for 2008 through Notice 2007-26.

In November 2006, the IRS announced that the original $800 million allocation had been reserved for a total of 610 projects. The additional $400 million (plus surrendered volume from the previous allocation) was allocated to 312 projects in February 2008. Of the $1.2 billion total of tax-credit bond volume cap allocated to fund renewable-energy projects, state and local government borrowers were limited to $750 million of the volume cap, with the rest reserved for qualified municipal or cooperative electric companies.

For further information on CREBs, contact Zoran Stojanovic or Timothy Jones of the IRS Office of Associate Chief Counsel at (202) 622-3980. Questions on recent IRS Notice 2009-33 can be directed to Janae Lemley at (636) 255-1202.


*In March 2010 Congress enacted H.R. 2847 (Sec. 301) permitting New CREB issuers to make an irrevocable election to receive a direct payment -- a refundable tax credit -- from the Department of Treasury equivalent to and in lieu of the amount of the non-refundable tax credit which would otherwise be provided to the bondholder. This option only applies to New CREBs issued after the March 18, 2010 enactment of the law. In April 2010 the IRS issued Notice 2010-35 providing guidance on the direct payment option.

USDA - Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Loan GuaranteesU.S. Department of Agriculture08/21/1812/06/192511

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) provides financial assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses in rural America to purchase, install, and construct renewable energy systems, make energy efficiency improvements to non-residential buildings and facilities, use renewable technologies that reduce energy consumption, and participate in energy audits and renewable energy development assistance.

Renewable energy projects for the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loan and Grant Program include wind, solar, biomass and geothermal, and hydrogen derived from biomass or water using wind, solar, or geothermal energy sources. These grants are limited to 25% of a proposed project's cost, and a loan guarantee may not exceed $25 million. The combined amount of a grant and loan guarantee must be at least $5,000 (with the grant portion at least $1,500) and may not exceed 75% of the project’s cost. In general, a minimum of 20% of the funds available for these incentives will be dedicated to grants of $20,000 or less. For more information on grant, loan guarantees, loan financing, and opportunities for combinations thereof, visit the USDA website.

Application due dates are published annually in the Notice of Funding Availability.

Eligibility

Grants and Guaranteed Loans are generally available to small businesses and agricultural producers and other entities as determined by USDA. To be eligible for REAP grants and guaranteed loans, applicants must demonstrate sufficient revenue to cover any operations and maintenance expense as well as any applicable debt service of the project for the duration of the guaranteed loan or grant. Rural small businesses must be located in rural areas, but agricultural producers may be located in non-rural areas.

Eligible project costs include purchasing energy efficiency improvements or a renewable energy system, energy audits or assessments, permitting and licensing fees, and business plans and retrofitting. For new construction the replacement of older equipment with more efficient equipment may be eligible as a project cost only when a new facility is planned to be more efficient and similarly sized than the older facility. Working capital and land acquisition are only eligible for loan guarantees.

For more information regarding applicant and project eligibility for loans and grants, visit the USDA REAP eligibility webpage, read the eligibility requirements in the most recent Solicitation of Applications for REAP funding in the Federal Registry, and/or contact your state rural energy coordinator.

Regional rural energy coordinators provide loan and grant applications upon request.

History

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (H.R. 2419), enacted by Congress in May 2008, converted the federal Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program,* into the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Similar to its predecessor, the REAP promotes energy efficiency and renewable energy for agricultural producers and rural small businesses through the use of (1) grants and loan guarantees for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems, and (2) grants for energy audits and renewable energy development assistance. Congress has allocated funding for the new program in the following amounts: $55 million for FY 2009, $60 million for FY 2010, $70 million for FY 2011, and $70 million for FY 2012. REAP is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In addition to these mandatory funding levels, up to $25 million in discretionary funding may be issued each year. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (H.R. 8) extended discretionary funding for FY 2013. The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the USDA to offer these programs and removed the mandate to offer grants for feasibility studies.

* The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program was created by the USDA pursuant to Section 9006 of the 2002 federal Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002Funding in the amount of $23 million per year was appropriated for each fiscal year from FY 2003-2007. In March 2008, the USDA announced that it would accept $220.9 million in applications for grants, loan guarantees, and loan/grant combination packages under the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program. The application deadline was June 16, 2008.

Land grant colleges and universities are referred to in the summary as "schools" and "institutional" eligible sectors. K-12 schools are not eligible for this grant.

City of Riverhead - Energy Conservation Device Permitting FeesRiverhead Building Department02/04/1612/06/192740

In 2006 the Town of Riverhead on Long Island enacted a special allowance in its building permit fee structure to provide a discount to people wishing to install energy conservation devices on residential or commercial buildings. The provision in the town code applies to any energy conservation device "installed in or on a structure which qualifies for any federal, state or local tax exemption, tax credit or tax rebate", but explicitly mentions solar panels as eligible for favorable treatment. The original law authorized a flat permitting fee of $150, which still generally applies, but the law was amended in December 2011 to create a "Fast-Track" process for residential systems that meet certain technical requirements (e.g., maximum roof loading, mounting orientation). The fee for Fast-Track applications is set at $50 and the process also entitles the applicant to expedited review (14 days). Applicants subject to review by the Landmarks Preservation Commission or the Architectural Review Board are not eligible for the Fast-Track process. Prior to the code revision permitting fees for solar panel installations often approached $1,000.

New York City - Property Tax Abatement for Photovoltaic (PV) and Energy Storage equipmentNew York City Department of Buildings01/09/1912/31/183037

NOTE: A.B. 10410 and its companion bill provide a property tax abatement for energy storage equipment in New York City worth 10% of the expenditures on the equipment (up to a maximum of $6,500 or the total value of taxes owed by the owner of the equipment). (See. S.B. 8971). S7110 enacted on September 2016 extends the property tax abatement for PV systems until January 1st 2019. 

In August 2008 the State of New York enacted legislation allowing a property tax abatement for photovoltaic (PV) system expenditures made on buildings located in cities with a population of 1 million or more people. This limits the abatement to systems installed within New York City. Eligible buildings include all real property except utility real property. As originally enacted the in-service deadline for eligible systems was December 31, 2012. However, in August 2012 the abatement was extended to systems placed in service through December 31, 2014 at a reduced rate. In October 2014, the Senate Bill S0746 extended the compliance period for systems till 2016. The tax abatement was extended again until 2019 on September 2016 by enactment of Senate Bill S7110.   

The abatement allows building owners to deduct from their total real property taxes* a portion of the expenditures associated with installing a PV system on an eligible building. Systems placed in service between August 5, 2008 (the effective date) and December 31, 2010 were eligible for an abatement of 8.75% of eligible expenditures annually for four years. Systems placed in service between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012 are eligible for an abatement of 5.0% of eligible expenditures annually for 4 years. Systems placed in service between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013 are eligible for an abatement of 2.5% of eligible expenditures annually for 4 years. Systems placed in service between January 1st, 2014 and December 31, 2018 are eligible for abatement of 5% of eligible expenditures for 4 years.

Thus the total property tax benefit can amount to either 35%, 20%, or 10% of the installed system cost depending on when it is built.

The maximum abatement during a year is $62,500 or the amount of real property taxes owed during the year. Unused balances may not be carried forward to subsequent years. Eligible expenditures include reasonable expenditures for materials and labor associated with planning, designing, and installing the system. Expenditures incurred using a federal, state, or local grant are not eligible, nor are interest or finance charges. However, the amount of eligible expenditures is not reduced by federal, state or local tax credits, tax abatements, tax exemptions or tax rebates.

The abatement program is administered by the Department of Finance in cooperation with the Department of Buildings. Applications for the abatement must be filed by March 15 in order to be eligible for a tax credit during the year the application is submitted. Applications submitted after this deadline can be applied to taxes owed for the following fiscal year. It is important to note that claiming the abatement does not affect whether a building owner can claim New York's real property tax exemption on the value added by solar, wind, and farm-based biogas energy systems.


*This incentive is similar to an investment tax credit for renewable energy systems, which are frequently applied to personal or corporate income taxes. It is unique in that the tax benefits are recouped through reduced property taxes on the host building instead of through reduced income taxes.

U.S. Department of Energy - Loan Guarantee ProgramU.S. Department of Energy08/18/1612/06/193071
Note: President Obama and DOE issued new supplemental guidance for Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy (REEE) Projects that adds $500 million of loan guarantee authority, making the total available approximately $4.5 billion. It also released guidance to clarify the types of Distributed Energy Projects it can support under the Title XVII program. The additional loan guarantee authority was officially available as of October 2015.

Section 1703 of Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act (EPAct) of 2005 created the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Loan Guarantee Program. The program was reauthorized and revised by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 by adding Section 1705 to EPAct. The 1705 Program was retired in September 2011, and Loan Guarantees are no longer available under that authority. DOE, however, still has authority to issue Loan Guarantees under the old Section 1703 Program.  

Under Section 1703, DOE is authorized to issue loan guarantees for projects with high technology risks that "avoid, reduce or sequester air pollutants or anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases; and employ new or significantly improved technologies as compared to commercial technologies in service in the United States at the time the guarantee is issued." Loan guarantees are intended to encourage early commercial use of new or significantly improved technologies in energy projects. The loan guarantee program generally does not support research and development projects.

Loan guarantees are provided in response to open solicitations. The application is a two part process; applicants that meet the specified requirements laid out in Part I receive an invitation to submit a Part II application. The updated supplemental guidance for Renewable Energy Projects and Energy Efficiency Projects includes an application solicitation schedule, with final Part I and Part II application due dates to November 30, 2016 (extended in a Fifth Supplement released June 2016). Up to $3 billion is available in loan guarantees for projects in renewable energy, efficient end-use, and efficient generation, transmission, and distribution technologies (plus an additional amount that may be imputed based on the credit subsidy cost of the loan guarantee authority). See the program website for more details on eligibility and the application process. 

Section 1703 requires either an appropriation to cover the Credit Subsidy Cost (the expected long term liability to the Federal Government for providing the loan guarantee), or payment of the Credit Subsidy Cost by the borrower. A credit-based interest rate spread will be added to certain loans receiving a 100% loan guarantee from DOE and financing from the Federal Financing Bank. Rates and more information are available here.


 

Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs)U.S. Internal Revenue Service08/22/1812/06/193098

Note: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (HR 1) of 2017 repealed the use of tax credit bonds effective January 1, 2018.  Issuers of QECBs that elected to receive direct payments from the Treasury issued on or before December 31, 2017, consistent with the Internal Revenue Code (Section 54D), will continue to receive direct payments. The summary presented below is for historical purposes. 

The Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, enacted in October 2008, authorized the issuance of Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (QECBs) that may be used by state, local and tribal governments to finance certain types of energy projects. QECBs are qualified tax credit bonds, and in this respect are similar to new Clean Renewable Energy Bonds or CREBs. The October 2008 enabling legislation set a limit of $800 million on the volume of energy conservation tax credit bonds that may be issued by state and local governments. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, enacted in February 2009, expanded the allowable bond volume to $3.2 billion. In April 2009, the IRS issued Notice 2009-29 providing interim guidance on how the program will operate and how the bond volume will be allocated. Subsequently, H.R. 2847 enacted in March 2010 introduced an option allowing issuers of QECBs and New CREBs to recoup part of the interest they pay on a qualified bond through a direct subsidy from the Department of Treasury. Guidance from the IRS on this option was issued in April 2010 under Notice 2010-35.

With tax credit bonds, generally the borrower who issues the bond pays back only the principal of the bond, and the bondholder receives federal tax credits in lieu of the traditional bond interest. The tax credit may be taken quarterly to offset the tax liability of the bondholder. The tax credit rate is set daily by the U.S. Treasury Department; however, energy conservation bondholders will receive only 70% of the full rate set by the Treasury Department under 26 USC § 54A. QECB rates are available here. Credits exceeding a bondholder's tax liability may be carried forward to the succeeding tax year, but cannot be refunded. Energy conservation bonds differ from traditional tax-exempt bonds in that the tax credits issued through the program are treated as taxable income for the bondholder.

For QECBs issued after March 18, 2010, the bond issuer may make an irrevocable election to receive a direct payment from the Department of Treasury equivalent to the amount of the non-refundable tax credit described above, which would otherwise accrue to the bondholder. The direct payment comes in the form of a refundable tax credit to the issuer in lieu of a tax credit to the bondholder. This option was formerly limited to Build America Bonds (see 26 USC § 6431, H.R. 2847 and IRS Notice 2010-35 for details). The advantage of either option is that it creates a lower effective interest rate for the issuer because the federal government subsidizes a portion of the interest costs.

In contrast to CREBs, QECBs are not subject to a U.S. Department of Treasury application and approval process. Bond volume is instead allocated to each state based on the state's percentage of the U.S. population as of July 1, 2008. Each state is then required to allocate a portion of its allocation to "large local governments" within the state based on the local government's percentage of the state's population. Large local governments are defined as municipalities and counties with populations of 100,000 or more. Large local governments may reallocate their designated portion back to the state if they choose to do so. IRS Notice 2009-29 contains a list of the QECB allocations for each state and U.S. territory. Implementing allocations and reallocations most often, but not always, takes place through State Energy Offices. As of this writing some states have yet to assign implementation responsibilities to a specific state agency.

The definition of "qualified energy conservation projects" is fairly broad and contains elements relating to energy efficiency capital expenditures in public buildings that reduce energy consumption by at least 20%; green community programs (including loans and grants to implement such programs); renewable energy production; various research and development applications; mass commuting facilities that reduce energy consumption; several types of energy related demonstration projects; and public energy efficiency education campaigns. In July 2012 the IRS issued Notice 2012-44 clarifying the meaning of "capital expenditures" and "green community program", and providing guidance on meeting the 20% energy consumption reduction requirement for energy -efficiency related capital expenditures in publicly-owned buildings (see 26 USC § 54D and IRS Notice 2012-44 for additional details). Renewable energy facilities that are eligible for CREBs are also eligible for QECBs.

Local Option - Municipal Sustainable Energy ProgramsPrograms administered locally07/10/1512/06/193765

Note: In 2010, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), which has authority over mortgage underwriters Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, directed these enterprises against purchasing mortgages of homes with a PACE lien due to its senior status above a mortgage. Most residential PACE activity subsided following this directive; however, some residential PACE programs are now operating with loan loss reserve funds, appropriate disclosures, or other protections meant to address FHFA's concerns. Commercial PACE programs were not directly affected by FHFA’s actions, as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do not underwrite commercial mortgages. Visit PACENow for more information about PACE financing and a comprehensive list of all PACE programs across the country.

Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing effectively allows property owners to borrow money to pay for energy improvements. The amount borrowed is typically repaid via a special assessment on the property over a period of years. In 2009 New York enacted two separate bills -- A.B. 8862 in August and A.B. 40004A in November -- authorizing local governments to offer these types of programs using different mechanisms. Although some similarities exist between the two authorizations, the latter is generally much broader in scope and allows for a more versatile set of local programs than the former. (Not all local governments in New York offer PACE financing; contact your local government to find out if it has established a PACE financing program.)

Municipal Sustainable Energy Loan Programs

In November 2009, the New York legislature enacted A.B 40004A, authorizing counties, towns, cities and villages (collectively referred to as "municipal corporations") to offer sustainable energy loan programs. Loans may be used to pay for energy audits; cost-effective, permanent energy efficiency improvements (i.e., appliances are generally not eligible); renewable energy feasibility studies; and the installation of renewable energy systems. The authorizing legislation does not limit the authority of local governments to provide loans to different sectors (e.g., residential, commercial, etc.). Any such limitations would be determined at the local level for a specific local program.

In order to qualify for a loan, energy audits or renewable energy feasibility studies must be performed by a contractor certified according to standards set by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) or by a local government under standards at least as stringent as those developed by NYSERDA. Energy efficiency improvements must meet cost-effectiveness criteria also established by NYSERDA.

The definition of eligible renewable energy systems includes solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, wind, geothermal, anaerobic digester gas, and fuel cell systems that generate electric or thermal energy. NYSERDA is permitted to approve additional renewable energy technologies as eligible, with the exception of those that involve combustion or pyrolysis of solid waste. Loans may not be issued for energy efficiency improvements that have not been determined to be appropriate by an energy audit or for renewable energy systems that have not undergone a feasibility study. Loans may not exceed 10% of the value of the real property upon which the improvements take place, or the cost of such improvements.

Municipal corporations are permitted to fund these programs using federal grant assistance or federal credit support mechanisms including direct loans, loan guarantees, and debt instruments. Municipal corporations may, but are not required, to provide for repayment of the loan through a charge on the real property which benefits from the loan. If a municipal corporation chooses this option, the charge must be collected at the same time and in the same manner as municipal taxes, but must be listed separately from other charges on the bill. In all cases, the loan constitutes a lien against the real property upon which the improvements take place.

Energy Waste Improvement Districts

In August 2009, the New York legislature enacted A.B. 8862, allowing towns to create residential home energy efficiency programs funded by periodic charges or fees for the services rendered. The effect of this policy, although not precisely a loan, is similar to a loan. In towns that offer such a program, the town would be permitted to enter into contracts for home energy audits and energy efficiency improvements on behalf of participating residents. Participating residents benefit by having improvements made upon their property by the town at no up-front cost to themselves and are permitted to repay the town for the improvements through a periodic fee or charge. The charges associated with the service constitute a lien upon the property on which the improvements took place.

In a characteristic unique to New York, the law integrates towns' ability to offer these programs into existing provisions under which towns create refuse and garbage improvement districts and collect fees for the provision of these services. The law specifically allows for programs that are designed for "the prevention or reduction of waste matter consisting of carbon components or energy waste from residential properties and the performance of energy audits and the purchase and installation of energy efficiency improvements on such residential properties." Solar thermal technologies are considered an eligible energy efficiency improvement for the purpose of such programs. The law itself appears to be modeled after the Long Island Green Homes Program which uses the same program structure. The Long Island Green Homes program was initiated in 2008 by the Town of Babylon.

 

USDA - High Energy Cost Grant ProgramUSDA Rural Utilities Service$10 million (2015 solicitation)06/09/1612/06/194359

NOTE: The most recent solicitation for this program closed December 14, 2015. Please check the program website for information on future solicitations.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers an ongoing grant program for the improvement of energy generation, transmission, and distribution facilities in rural communities. This program began in 2000. Eligibility is limited to projects in communities that have average home energy costs at least 275% above the national average. Retail power suppliers serving rural areas are eligible to apply for grant funding, including non-profits (cooperatives and limited dividend or mutual associations), commercial entities, state and local governments entities, and tribal governments. Under the most recent solicitation for projects, a total of $7 million was available for qualifying projects. Under this solicitation grants ranging from $50,000 to $3 million were available for a variety of activities, including:

  • Electric generation, transmission, and distribution facilities;
  • Natural gas or petroleum storage or distribution facilities;
  • Renewable energy facilities used for on-grid or off-grid electric power generation, water or space heating, or process heating and power;
  • Backup up or emergency power generation or energy storage equipment; and
  • Weatherization of residential and community property, or other energy efficiency or conservation programs.

This grant program is not limited to renewable energy or energy conservation and efficiency measures, but these measures are eligible for this grant program.

Home Performance with ENERGY STARNew York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)12/02/1612/06/194563

NYSERDA offers 10% discount and additional low-interest financing options for New York State homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Eligibility

NY State residents who own single-family or multifamily homes with up to 4 units are eligible for the program. To participate in the On-Bill financing program, the homeowner must be a customer of the following participating utilities: Central Hudson, Con Edison, PSEG-Long Island, National Grid (upstate customers only, New York State Electric and Gas, Orange and Rockland, or Rochester Gas and Electric.

Program Description:

To participate in the program, the homeowner must schedule a home energy assessment with the participating Home Performance contractor who has been certified as a BPI GoldStar Contractor. In most cases the customer will be eligible for a reduced or no-cost energy home assessment depending on their income level. The energy assessment takes a comprehensive approach to identifying maximum energy efficiency that can be achieved in the home. After the assessment, the contractor will work with the homeowner to decide what improvements should be made. 

Homeowners can also choose to finance the project through a subsidized loan provided through NYSERDA. The financing options include: On-Bill Recovery Loan and Smart Energy Loan. The On-Bill recovery loan is provided at 3.49% interest rate, where the repayments can be paid through the utility bill. The Smart Energy loan is provided at 3.49% or 3.99% depending on the method of repayment. Loans amounts from $1,500 up to $25,000 with a term of 5, 10, or 15 years.

Participants in the financing programs remain eligible for other incentives offered by utilities or by NYSERDA, including  and the NYSERDA Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR. For further information on this program, please consult the program website(s) or use the contact information provided below.

New York Power Authority - Energy Services Programs for Public Entities07/07/1512/06/194621

NOTE: NYPA currently provides clean energy advisory, planning and consulting services to state and local governments. Its services include, but not limited to, energy audits, energy efficiency project design, procurement and construction, management implementation services, and low cost financing. NYPA has limited grant to facilities these projects and currently does not offer any incentive programs. 

New York Power Authority (NYPA) provides energy efficiency improvements to eligible public sector organizations at no up-front cost. A range of energy efficient upgrades are available through Energy Services Programs for Public Entities. This program covers the initial costs of purchasing and installing energy efficient measures for schools and other public entities served by NYPA. Participating entities must be located in the state of New York. Energy savings generated from the project will repay the up-front investment. Eligible entities include: 

  • K-12 Schools
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Local Governments
  • State Government
  • Water and Wastewater Treatment Facilities
  • Healthcare Facilities

The program evaluates eligible facilities and offers solutions for increased energy savings. Generally, the program focuses on comprehensive energy efficiency gains through a variety of solutions, from the traditional energy conservation measures such as high efficiency lighting to the integration clean energy technology. NYPA covers the up-front project costs and recovers this investment by sharing the resulting energy savings with the participating entity. Participating entities retain all energy savings after the repayment process is completed. Contact NYPA for more information on program guidelines and eligibility.

New York City - Residential Solar Sales Tax Exemption09/18/1412/06/194703

In July 2005, New York enacted legislation that allows local governments to grant a local sales tax exemption for residential solar energy systems. New York City passed Resolution 1121 in August 2005 (effective December 1, 2005) to exempt residential solar energy systems equipment and services from sales tax.

Local Option - Solar Sales Tax Exemption04/14/1512/06/194857

New York enacted legislation in July 2005 exempting the sale and installation of residential solar-energy systems from the state's sales and compensating use taxes. The exemption applies to solar-energy systems that utilize solar radiation to produce energy designed to provide heating, cooling, hot water and/or electricity. In 2012 the exemption was also extended to commercial solar energy systems, effective January 1, 2013. In 2015 the exemption was extended to solar systems that are owned by third party owners, who provide solar electricity to residential and commercial users. Both solar lease payments and the receipts of the sale of electricity by such systems are exempt from state sales and use tax.

The exemption does not apply to solar pool heating or other recreational applications. The laws also permit local governments (municipalities and counties) to grant an exemption from local sales taxes. If a city with a population of 1 million or more chooses to grant the local exemption, it must enact a specific resolution that appears in the state law. Local sales tax rates in New York range from 1.5% to more than 4% in addition to the general state sales tax rate of 4%.

The New York Department of Taxation and Finance publishes a variety of sales tax reports detailing local tax rates and exemptions, including those for solar energy equipment. The solar sales tax list (Publication 718-S) is updated frequently. The New York Department of Taxation and Finance has issued a small amount of additional guidance and instructions on how to claim the exemption in Publication TSB-M-05(11)S (residential) and Publication TSB-M-12(14)S (commercial).

 

Local Option - Real Property Tax Exemption for Green BuildingsAdministered locally04/30/1512/06/195249

In July 2012 New York enacted legislation allowing municipal corporations to exempt green buildings from real property taxes. It is important to note that this law allows but does not require local governments to extend favorable property tax treatment to green buildings. In order for the exemption to apply, a municipal corporation must first adopt an ordinance this effect.

In order to qualify for an exemption, the new construction or improvement (does not include routine maintenance or repairs) must commence on or after January 1, 2013; be valued in excess of $10,000; and projects must meet the LEED, Green Globes, American National Standards Institute, or substantially equivalent green building certification standards. Although the law references allowable green building rating systems/certifications other than LEED, the incentive amounts are described in relation to LEED certification levels. The amount of the exemption permitted varies by year and by the certification level achieved. Although not specifically identified in the law, it appears that the "year" refers to the property tax year in which the exemption is first claimed and subsequent years thereafter. The allowable exemption levels, stated in terms of the percentage of total taxes owed, are as follows:

Year LEED Certified/Silver LEED Gold LEED Platinum
1 100% 100% 100%
2 100% 100% 100%
3 100% 100% 100%
4 80% 100% 100%
5 60% 80% 100%
6 40% 60% 100%
7 20% 40% 80%
8 0% 20% 60%
9 0% 0% 40%
10 0% 0% 20%

Projects must actually achieve certification in order to be eligible for an exemption, and the exemption must be approved by the local assessor prior to taking effect. For further details, please see the full text of the enabling legislation.

NY Green BankNY Green Bank$ 1 billion01/21/1612/06/195539

In December 19, 2013 the Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a petition issued by NYSERDA’s to establish and fund the operations of New York Green Bank (NY Green Bank). NY Green Bank is a  state-sponsored specialized financial entity, working to accelerate clean energy deployment throughout New York State by   partnering with the private sector to address and alleviate market and financial barriers preventing a thriving clean energy marketplace. NY Green Bank does not accept deposits or offer retail loans, and instead works on the wholesale level, operating in direct response to real-time market needs.

Funding

On December 2013, the PSC approved the reallocation of $165.6 million of uncommitted NYSERDA Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS) and System Benefit Charge (SBC) III funds, and $52.9 million raised from selling Regional Green House Gas Initiative carbon allowances. These reallocations provide an initial capitalization fund of $218.5 million. In July 2015, the PSC approved additional $150 million dollars of uncommitted NYSERDA funds to support the NY Green Bank. On December 2016, the NY PSC approved additional $782 million for NY Green Bank as part of a $5 billion NY Clean Energy Fund. This finally completes the NY Green Bank initial plan of a full capitalization goal of $1 billion dollars. 

Financing Structure

NY Green Bank works with a broad range of market participants such as energy service companies, developers, and equipment manufacturers. Rather than providing loans directly to the companies for pre-construction operations, NY Green Bank works in partnership with the participating financing entities, including banks and other private sector participants, to address existing market barriers and alleviate those in order to expand today’s clean energy financing markets. The NY Green Bank is flexible in terms of its involvement in any given project or transaction and can assume various roles, including but not limited to: provide credit enhancements (e.g. a reserve account or a junior interest), serve as a lender (e.g. senior, mezzanine or subordinated), or warehouse provider (with likelihood of being taken out by private sector third parties). These financial arrangements are targeted towards funding various clean energy projects that are economically viable but not currently financeable due to financing gaps in today’s clean energy marketplace.

Eligibility

The NY Green Bank can participate in projects located in the State of New York and eligible, commercially-proven technologies  include : solar, wind, and other renewable energy generation technologies, energy efficiency measures, electricity load reduction, on-site generation and similar projects that support State’s clean energy objectives.

Interested participants may submit a proposal for financing arrangements to NY Green Bank through it’s open solicitation. NY Green Bank has a standing  Request for Proposals (RFP) available on its website: www.greenbank.ny.gov, which remains open, and proposals are evaluated as they are received. The RFP must include the description of the project, financing structure and an explanation of why NY Green Bank financing is required in order to complete the transaction (why is the private sector not financing this project on its own? How, with Green Bank financing, will this project will lead to more, similar projects getting done?). NY Green Bank will consider different criteria such as expected financial returns, creditworthiness, scalability of the project, greenhouse gas reduction potential, and other considerations well in advance of financing the project. In most cases, the bank will invest alongside other capital provides and work with industry participations who deal directly with end-use customers. While there is no maximum or minimum project size NY Green Bank will consider, the expected project range is between NY $5 million to $50 million.

 

 

NY-Sun Loan Program10/12/1512/06/195540

NY-Sun loan program is part of broader NY-Sun Initiative program to accelerate the use of solar PV across the State. In addition to cash incentives, NY-Sun Initiative also provides State sponsored low-interest financing options to install solar PV systems.  The financing for the program is made available through the Green Jobs- Green New York (GJGNY) Act of 2009. 

Eligibility

The PV installations up to 200 kW should be performed by a participating Solar Electric Installer. List of participating installers is available here. Beginning from October, 2014, NY-Sun loan program has added Solar Thermal as an eligible resource for financing. Financing structure for Solar Thermal equipment are as same as offered for Solar PV systems. Additional financial incentives for Solar Thermal systems can be accessed here.

Residential

Residential customers can quality up to $13,000, or up to $25,000 loans with higher cost-effectiveness standards. The repayment periods can be 5, 10, or 15 years and should be within the expected life of the installation. Residential customers can choose between a standard loan or a On-Bill financing loan. These loans are provided by the Energy Finance Solutions (EFS) on behalf of NYSERDA.

Residential Smart Energy Loan

This loan provides a standard loan at interest rate* of 3.99%, or 3.49% if repaid through automatic bank withdrawals. In case of transfer or sale of the property, the customer remains responsible for the outstanding balance of the loan which cannot be assigned.

Residential and Small Business/ Not-for Profit On-Bill Recovery Loan

On bill financing loans available for residential, small business, and not-for profit institutions. This loan provides the convenience of repayment through a regular charge on the customer’s utility bill. The payments appear as a separate item on the utility bill and is financed at a current interest rate* of 3.49%. The monthly payments may not exceed the estimated cost savings from the improvements over the loan term. In case of sale of the property, the payments can be transferable.

Small Business and Not-For-Profit Organizations

Small business and Not-For-Profit organizations can obtain low interest standard loan up to $100,000, or On-Bill Recovery loans up to $50,000. In addition to PV installation, the funds may also be used to finance certain eligible energy efficiency improvements in the building. More information about financing options for Small business and Not-for-Profit customers can be accessed here.

Small Commercial participation loans

Apart on-bill financing loans, small commercial and not-for-profit organizations also have an option to financing systems through a traditional loan structure. Financing up to $100,000 is provided to eligible customer at below market interest rates. NYSERDA provides 50% of the project cost up to $50,000 at 2% interest rate and the participating lender provides the rest of the loan at market rates. 

*Interest rates are subject to change



FHA PowerSaver Loan Program03/07/1612/06/195631

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) through its PowerSaver loan program offers three financing options for homeowners to make energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades in their residences. For all three PowerSaver products, borrowers must select from a list of approved PowerSaver lenders. Please check the HUD website to find a list of participating FHA approved lender for the program. PowerSaver products are not currently offered in all states, so all potential applicants are encouraged to first check the program website to ensure product availability in their location. 

Eligibility

Homeowners must have following requirements to be eligible for the program:

  •  Minimum credit score of 660
  •  Maximum total debt to income ratio of 45% (monthly income divided by monthly debt payments)
  • Maximum combined loan-to-value: 100%
  • Property type: One-unit, owner-occupied, principal residence properties only
  • Appraisal requirement: exterior-only inspection appraisal or other FHA method of valuation
  • PowerSaver insures lien position in the first place, or second place, and also insures loans without lien, as long as the loan amount is less than $7,500. 

Eligible Measures

Eligible home energy upgrades include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

  • A whole home upgrade through Home Performance with ENERGY STAR
  • Insulation and air sealing
  • Replacing doors and windows
  • Upgrading heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems and hot water systems
  • Home automations systems and controls (e.g., smart thermostats)
  • Installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, solar thermal hot water systems, small wind power, or geothermal heat pumps

PowerSaver Home Energy Upgrade—Up to $7,500

This unsecured consumer loan is intended for smaller projects (e.g., insulation, air and duct sealing, water heating, replacing heating and cooling equipment, etc.). It does not require a home appraisal or lien on the property. Single-family homeowners may qualify for the loan if they have manageable debt and a credit score of 660 or higher. Interest rates vary, but typically range from 4.99% to 7.75%. PowerSaver participating lenders, markets, and contact information is available here.

PowerSaver Second Mortgage (Title I)—Up to $25,000

This Title I loan is intended for financing larger retrofit projects, including energy efficiency, PV, solar hot water, geothermal, or other renewable energy projects. A home appraisal or equity is generally not required, but PowerSaver lenders may request it if required by their investor. Borrowers cannot currently have an existing home equity loan, a second lien, or second mortgage to qualify for this product. Interest rates vary but typically range from 4.99% to 9.99%, and the maximum loan term is 20 years. PowerSaver Title I participating lenders, markets, and contact information is available here.

PowerSaver Energy Rehab (203(k))—First mortgage up to FHA loan limits

This 203(k) loan is for home purchase or refinance, targeting either home buyers wishing to combine home improvements with a home purchases or to homeowners wishing to include home improvements when refinancing an existing mortgage. It is FHA-insured up to 100% for a home purchase or refinance, plus the cost of a home improvement project. Current loan limits for a single-unit property vary by area from $217,500 to $625,000 (higher amounts are permitted for two-, three- and four-unit properties); specific loan limits for an area can be found at this website. In order to qualify as a 203(k) PowerSaver loan, at least $3,500 of the home improvements must consist of eligible PowerSaver measures. PowerSaver 203(k) participating lenders, markets, and contact information is available here.

The two types of PowerSaver 203(k) loans are Standard and Streamlined. Standard 203(k) loans are for major improvements, where a home improvement project costs at least $5,000 and includes $3,500 in energy upgrades. The Streamlined 203(k) loans are for minor home improvements, where the home improvement project cost must not exceed $35,000. A HUD consultant is only required for oversight of home improvements for Standard 203(k) loans. 



NY-Sun Commercial and Industrial Incentive ProgramNew York State Energy Research and Development Authority$450,525,00008/24/1712/29/235755

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) through NY-Sun Commercial/Industrial Incentive Program (PON 3082) provides incentives for installation of non-residential new grid connected solar photovoltaic (PV) systems that are greater than 200 kW. Incentives for systems smaller than 200 kW systems are offered through the NY- Residential  and Small Commericial incentive program. Incentives are awarded on a first-come, first serve basis, until the funds are fully committed. Applications are being accepted through December 29, 2023. 

Eligibility

Incentives are provided to new customer-sited PV systems, greater than 200 kW per electric meter, that are grid connected and displace utility provided electricity. The program is funded primarily by the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) customer charge that are billed to the customers of investor owned utilities in the State. The funding in limited amount is also provided through the statewide Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) funds. After the RGGI funds are exhausted, only RPS/SBC paying customers of investor owned utilities will be eligible for the program. Such utilities include Central Hudson Gas and Electric, Con Edison, National Grid, NYSEG/RG&E, and Orange & Rockland. 

PV projects receiving any other NYSERDA awards are not eligible to receive incentive under this program. 

Program Description

The program offers incentive based on the performance of the PV system over the first 3 years of the system’s annual energy production. The program also offers additional incentives for: i) installations in utility identified strategic locations, ii) for systems that integrate energy storage, and iii) for projects that include comprehensive energy efficiency. 

 MW Blocks

Incentives are based on the Megawatt (MW) Block design that allocates specific incremental MW targets to specific regions of the state. Each target has a specific incentive level. As the MW target on the specific block fully subscribed, another subsequent target is specified with unique incentive amount. Incentive amounts are designed to decrease in time as each of the MW targets are met. Once all the MW blocks in a region are fully subscribed, an incentive is no longer offered in that region. The MW block design is based on historical demand, market penetration, installed cost per watt, and helps to provide equity on a regional basis. Real time incentive price for each of the MW blocks can be viewed here

There are two regional MW blocks established i) region served by Con Ed, and ii) the rest of the state (ROS) except PSEG-LI. Remote net metered projects in ROS that receive monetary crediting from a non-demand host meter receive the "Monetary" incentive, all other projects in ROS receive "Volumetric" incentive. 

Incentive Amount

The Base Incentive for the PV systems are calculated based on 3 years of estimated annual energy production using 13.4% capacity factor (CF) for fixed systems, 16% CF for single-axis tracking, or 17.5% CF for dual-axis tracking. 

Total estimated annual energy production is calculated by the formula:

             PV system Estimated Annual Energy Production (kWh) = PV system DC rating (kW) x 8760 (h) x Capacity Factor. 

Base Incentive is calculated by multiplying estimated annual energy production calculated above by its corresponding MW block incentive rate (in $/kWh), given by the formula

             Base Incentive ($) = PV system Estimated Annual Energy Production (kWh) x MW Block Incentive ($/kWh) x 3 years

The base incentive calculated above, with additional eligible incentives (described section below) add up to "Not to Exceed" (NTE). NTE value is calculated based on projected kWh production of the system. Total incentive payment for the system cannot exceed this value.

Incentives are distributed to the contractor in for four separate installments:

  •  25% of the NTE value (0.25x NTE) , after the system is commercially operational.
  •  The remaining 75% provided on three installment payment  (25% each year) based on yearly performance calculated by the formula (0.75 x Metered Yearly Energy Production (kWh) x PBI ($/kWh))

For example a 1MW system, would have total Annual Energy Production of 1,174MWh with a 13.4% capacity factor. Base incentive can be calculated by multiplying the total Annual Energy Production by 3 years and the Performance Based Incentive corresponding to the MW block. The Base incentive with volumetric PBI on Block I (0.114$/kWh) would amount to 1,174MWh x 3 x 0.114 = $401,453.28. This is the total NTE or maximum incentive that the project will receive (excluding additional incentives described below). One fourth of the amount ($100,363) will be paid after commercial operation. The rest of the amount will be paid after each year for three years based on the output of the facility (which will approximately amount to $100,363 each year for next three years. 

The excel based incentive calculator (MWBlock Estimator) available at the NY-Sun website can be used to calculate incentives for the PV system. 

Additional Incentives

An additional incentive of $50,000 is awarded to applicants who invest in energy storage and/or energy efficiency. Energy efficiency investments must reduce energy use intensity (kBtu/sq.ft/year) at the customer’s site by a minimum of 15% relative to the baseline energy use intensity of the customer. The program also offers separate additional $50,000 for investment in integrated PV/energy storage that provide minimum of 250 kW of monthly peak demand reduction at the electric customer's site. 

Contractor Requirements 

Incentives are provided directly to the participating contractors, which are transferred to the customer to reduce the cost of the system. Interested parties with appropriate credentials can apply through the NY-Sun program website to register as a participating contractor. Participating contractors are responsible for installing the system, and submitting all required PV incentive application to NYSERDA. 

 

PSEG Long Island- Commercial Solar PV Feed-in TariffPSEG05/28/1912/06/1921865

NOTE: The initial enrollment period of October 1, 2016 to January 31, 2017 has ended. However, the Authority will continue to accept applications from eligible Generation Projects until February 1, 2020. For the duration of this enrollment period, all responsive bids that have not been accepted into Feed-in Tariff III during the initial enrollment period nor withdrawn by the Generation Project owner will be placed on the Wait List. Applications submitted after January 31, 2017 must include a proposed price of $0.1649 per kWh. 

PSEG Long Island’s Commercial Solar Feed-in Tariff (FIT) program supports the development of solar energy for commercial sector in Long Island. The program is designed as part of Long Island Power Authority’s (LIPA) goal to add 400 MW of new renewable energy generation by 2018. The commercial solar FIT program has a goal to install 20 MW of solar energy in its third round of solicitation. 

Eligibility

All new non-residential solar PV projects that have a minimum output of 200kW (AC) and maximum output less than 1,000kW (AC) are eligible to participate in the program. The solar PV project must be placed on non-residential customer’s rooftop or carport that is used to shelter motor vehicles, and be interconnected to the LIPA’s distribution system. The applicant does not have to be a PSEG LIPA’s electric customer to participate in the program, however, the system must be installed within LIPA’s service territory. 

Net metered systems, systems that are already interconnected, or projects that have received other incentives from LIPA are not eligible for the program. 

Program description

The program is designed as a “buy-all, sell-all” where all the output from the solar PV system is exported to the grid. In exchange, the program provides fixed price ($/kWh) for all the output generated by the system for the period of 20 years under a power purchase agreement (PPA). The fixed purchase price will be determined through a Clearing Price Auction. 

Market Auction

Interested applicants must submit an application for the Clearing Price Auction including a bid price that is less than the bid cap price of $0.1649/kWh. Applications with a bid price greater than the cap price will be discarded. The bids will be ranked generally based on- i) lowest evaluation bid price, ii) smallest proposed project size, and iii) earliest submittal time stamp until the projects add up to 20 MW. The price ($/kWh) at which the capacity reaches 20 MW will be set as the market clearing price. Each successful applicant will receive a fixed price contract at which the auction cleared.