Legislation Passed To Expand Market for Solar Power in New York

July 16, 2012
Albany – Assemblymember Kevin Cahill (D- Ulster, Dutchess) announced that legislation he sponsored (A.34-B) is being delivered to the Governor and if signed, would increase the installation of solar photovoltaic equipment by allowing residents that lease and enter into solar power purchase agreements to claim a personal income tax credit of up to $5,000.

“The biggest barrier to solar is sticker shock. Consumers clearly understand and want to take advantage of the economic and environmental benefits solar power provides. We have seen it in states throughout the Northeast that have embraced innovative financing strategies designed to eliminate concerns about the upfront costs,” said Assembly Energy Chair Kevin Cahill. “Solar leasing and on-bill financing agreements are the future of the installation industry. They make it easier for people to make common sense investments that will reduce their monthly bills from day one.”

Taxpayers who enter into a lease or power purchase agreement of at least ten years could qualify for the tax credit, which is currently only available to taxpayers who purchase solar equipment. The benefit would be spread out over a number of years and the agreements are easily transferable.

“Not only will this bill help save money for taxpayers, but it will reduce the stress on our electric grid, which benefits all utility customers,” said Assemblymember Cahill. “By expanding the use of solar technology, we are reducing our reliance on dirty, high-emission fossil fuels and counteracting the negative impacts of greenhouse gas pollution.”

Assemblymember Cahill supported another measure passed by the Legislature this year (A.5522-B/Englebright) that would make solar energy a more viable option for commercial consumers. The bill would eliminate all state sales taxes on the purchase and installation of solar equipment for businesses, while giving cities, counties and school districts the option of establishing similar exemptions.

“Utilizing the tax code to encourage households and commercial entities to make use of renewable technology will bring a boost to our economy and lead to the creation of more jobs as the demand for solar grows,” said Assemblymember Cahill.