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Energy Advocates Rally to Improve Solar Affordability

A coalition of green energy advocates is asking Albany to raise the solar tax credit for residents.
Stephen Levin, CEO of Solar One.

A coalition of clean energy advocates, policymakers, and local residents convened last week at a Brooklyn rooftop to rally in support of affordable solar power initiatives proposed for this year’s state budget.  

Solar One, Vote Solar, and the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) led the coalition advocating for legislation to expand the New York State Solar Energy System Equipment Tax Credit by raising the per-household cap and adding a direct-pay provision for low-income New Yorkers, according to a news release. 

Currently, the credit is equal to 25% of a qualified solar energy system, but it is limited to $5,000 and cannot be taken by those who don’t pay income taxes, like seniors, veterans, or low-income homeowners.

“The expanded tax credit will ignite economic growth, creating good-paying jobs in the booming solar industry,” said Stephen Levin, CEO of Solar One. “But perhaps most importantly, this expansion will make solar energy more accessible than ever for low- and moderate-income families and communities who stand to benefit the most from energy affordability and environmental justice. We urge lawmakers to seize this opportunity and invest in a brighter, more sustainable future for New York."

The rooftop event featured a solar tour of a HDFC income-restricted co-op and brief remarks highlighting the importance of S3596C/A6739A, the proposed budget amendment, which is co-sponsored by NYS Assemblymember Latrice Walker and Senator Peter Harckham.

The bill’s goal is to modernize the current tax credit by raising the per-household cap, include energy storage as an eligible expense; and secure a direct-pay provision for low-and moderate-income households and residents of disadvantaged communities. This would improve solar accessibility for all New Yorkers regardless of income. 

“Lack of financial resources and incentives are a barrier for low-income co-ops we work with whose owners are excited about the financial benefits of solar and its environmental impacts. The proposed changes to the state tax credit would go a long way in ensuring that the benefits of rooftop solar are reaped by communities that have been historically underserved,” said Emily Ng, director of member services at UHAB.