A friend of ours told us the other day that he knew of someone locally who had installed solar panels on his roof. We’ve heard about the Oneida County Solar Panel Project and other larger projects, but what about solar panels for homes? And what’s the status of solar power here in New York State.
We checked out the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and its solar energy program, NY-Sun. The goal for Governor Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard is that 50% of New York State’s electricity be from renewable sources. Affordable solar is a part of that and the state is looking to bring solar electric to 150,000 new homes and businesses by 2020.
To that end, Cuomo launched the NY-Sun initiative. The hope is that its nearly $1billion commitment will eventually add enough solar energy to power 400,000 homes. There’s help for companies, homes, small commercial, not-for-profit, and municipal buildings. There are even programs for renters who can’t put solar on their roofs with a Shared Solar program.
We looked at some of the incentive programs and found that there is plenty of info on the NYSERDA website including dashboards, PDFs, graphs, and charts. Here in the Utica area, we’d fall into the Upstate Region category. (The other two are the Long Island Region and the Con Edison Region.)
So there are incentives and credits available, including a 30% federal tax credit. But when you search contractors who install solar panels, there really isn’t any set pricing. It all depends on the size of your home or building, your monthly electric bill, and whether you lease or buy the system outright.
Your best bet if you’re interested in solar power for your home, business, or non-profit is to do your research and get in touch with a trusted contractor.
Solar Panels and Homeowners Insurance
But what about the insurance if you do install solar panels on your home? Great question! The answer is, if the solar panels are attached to your roof, they are covered as part of the home at replacement cost (if your homeowners policy is written at replacement cost, which most are). Their value is included in the value of the house.
If the solar panels are separate from the home, they may not be covered for replacement cost. So call us before you install your solar panels so we can be sure to either include their value in the total replacement cost of your home or insure them as free standing outside of your home.
It certainly is an exciting time to be looking at alternative energy sources, whether for your home or business. There are government incentives and energy buyback programs that make it all more affordable than ever. And, most important, you can contribute to the elimination of fossil fuels and, hopefully, the inevitable climate change that comes with them.
So if you’re thinking solar, give us a call and we’ll talk about making sure your homeowners insurance covers your new, energy efficient solar panels.
Until next time,
Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig, Inc. is your New Hartford area independent insurance agent. Call us for a quote on insurance for your home, car, business, or life at 315.792.0000. Or request a quote here.