National Grid To Raise Rates; More Increases on the WayUtility announces average rise of $10 a month for residential customers.
Tax Credits and incentives raised for 2006. [Be aware that the best tax credit is after September 1, 2006 for NY]
NY State Tax Credit (dollar for dollar reduction in taxes paid, not reduction in taxable income):
25% credit of net cost of system
The solar electric generating equipment credit has been changed to the solar energy system equipment credit. The credit now includes solar energy system equipment which utilizes solar radiation to provide heating, cooling, hot water, or electricity for use in a residence. The maximum credit is increased to $5,000 for property placed in service after September 1, 2006. The credit is $3,750 for qualified solar energy equipment placed in service before September 1, 2006.Federal Tax Credit:
30% of net cost of system
...Homeowners get a more limited credit. They can put in a photovoltaic system (roof panels that take in energy from the sun and turn it into electricity) and/or a solar-powered hot water system (for hot water heaters, radiant floors or radiators), and get a federal tax credit worth 30% of the systems' cost, up to a credit of $2,000 per system. There are a couple of catches: The heating system can't be for a pool or hot tub, and the federal credit applies to the net system cost after any state incentives.NYSERDA Energy Smart initiative -
Cash incentives vary depending on the installation. When combined with other New York Energy $martSM programs (highlighted below), the cash incentives under this program could help reduce the total costs to install a PV system by 40-70%.
The three incentive levels are:
1) $4.00 per watt (direct current or the rated output of the PV panel) for a grid-connected PV system.
2) $4.50 per watt for PV systems installed on a New York Energy $martSM Labeled-Home and;
3) $4.50 per watt for any building-integrated PV system that is approved under NYSERDA's New Construction Program (PON 913).
As costs increase, my "day dreaming" about solar is moving more into the research and consideration phase. At this point we are using about 6 more kWh per day than a 2.5kW solar array would produce in upstate NY (approx 10 kWh/day). Right now I am trying to figure out where all the energy use/drain is coming from (yea Kill-a-watt). Chief suspects: non-Energy Star refrigerator, non-Energy Star dishwasher, lighting, TV and computer. We still have some lights that are not CFL, and are considering smaller lamps to read by rather than having the overhead lights blazing. I think that the refrigerator is the chief culprit, so I have been pricing lower energy models. The dishwasher is doing such a poor job lately that I think that it will be next on the list. Other energy users: washing and drying laundry = about 0.5 kWh per load, with a majority of that coming from the dryer (0.35 kWh).
Rough estimate of cost calculation:
2.5 kW system overall cost:
2,500 watts * $8.45/watt avg cost for solar (installed) = $21,125
Minus 2,500 watts * $4.00/watt incentive from NYSERDA (-$10,000) = $11,125
Minus 25% NYS incentive up to $5000 (-$2,781.25) = $8,343.75
Minus 30% Federal incentive up to $2000 (-$2,000) = $6,343.75 true cost of system
I will be looking into finding out how much National Grid will pay for energy produced by the PV system (net metering). This will be essential in determining the date that the system will pay itself off. I realize that this is a long term investment, but would make me feel more secure that my house could produce most, if not nearly all, of the electricity needed.