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4 Things New York-Based Small Community Officials Should Know about Implementing Community Solar Projects to Save on Energy Costs and Create Economic Development

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The progressive leadership of New York; Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have pushed efforts to make the “Green New Deal” a reality. The state announced in June that it aims to meet 70% of the city’s energy needs using renewable energy by 2030. By 2040, this figure is expected to reach 100%. And in April the New York City Council passed an ordinance that requested new buildings to be covered with solar panels or grass/vegetation.

This blog is for those responsible community leaders who want to play their part in energy conservation solutions. There are some things you should know before you install solar panels in your community.

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1. Net Metering

Distribution Generation (DG) technology includes small scale energy generation projects that can push any extra power generated by the system into the utility grid. Solar panels qualify as a DG technology system. That means if you’ve met your electricity needs, you can actually benefit others. All you need to do is install a meter at the energy generation site and credit your extra production to the grid.

2. Incentives

As part of Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), the state provides numerous incentive programs to those who want to install solar energy panels. For installations in homes there are two financing options; on-bill recovery loans and smart energy loans.

Loans are available from $1500 to $25,000 and can be paid off in five, ten or fifteen years. If you’re running a business, there are three options for you: small business/not-for-profit On-Bill recovery loans, small commercial participation loans, and large commercial/industrial loans.

3. Tax Credits

At the local level, incentives include real property tax exemptions and a real property tax abatement program in New York City. Solar panel systems don’t increase the taxable value of a home in NYC. You should consider hiring a professional tax advisor to make sure you receive the most tax benefits.

4. Local Law

If you’re installing solar panels with an energy generation level of less than 25 MW. You should consult a lawyer who knows about the local municipality laws. The Model Solar Energy Local Law can provide you with a basic understanding of the guidelines.

At Larsen Engineers, our solar project team has over 40 years of experience in energy conservation services. We can provide you with a multi-disciplinary services approach including construction phase, financial review, permit expertise, power purchase agreement (PPA) and contract review. Call us at (585) 272-7310 for a consultation!

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