Electric water heaters are inefficient and costly compared to heating water with natural gas systems, but in areas of many states, natural gas infrastructure was never built. That was fine when electricity was cheap, but now those areas are stuck with electric water heaters…until now.
New York is one of those states that have a fair number of electric water heating customers. To help meet NY’s renewable portfolio standards (RPS), NYSERDA, (the State’s utility rebate administrator) is now offering up to $4,000 for residential and up to $25,000 for non-residential customers to install a solar water heating system.
In addition, Long Island residential customers with electric water heating systems can receive up to $1,500 from their LIPA utility.
As always, residents can also take an additional 30% off the cost of the system via the 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC). (That’s calculated in different ways for residents and commercial owners, so read that link for more information.)
The NYSERDA program does have a few requirements for installers and the purchased solar thermal systems, so be sure to get the details from your installer. However, in general:
- The solar hot water incentive is based on the amount of electricity displaced by the solar water heating system. (As that implies, you’ll still have your electric system as a back-up in case you run out of water in the solar hot water tank.)
- The incentive is calculated at $1.50 per annual kilowatt-hour (kWh) displaced, up to $4,000 for residential systems and $25,000 for non-residential systems. Installers will be able to calculate the exact amount using your electric bill and the type of system to be installed.
- Residents need to install a solar thermal system that has an SRCC OG-300 rating, which is a solar industry standard, so shouldn’t be hard to find. Free Hot Water has OG-300 systems too.
- Similarly, commercial systems for hotels, apartment buildings, and other businesses don’t need an OG-300 kit, but they use solar collectors with an OG-100 rating from the SRCC.
- Installers of eligible solar water heater systems must be pre-approved by NYSERDA. As of June 30, 2012, approval requires certification by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). That means that the installer must have passed a test from NABCEP. It’s a tough test to pass, so the state is raising the bar for quality solar hot water installers. (Contact us to find one in your area.)
- Your NABCEP installer must also perform a Clipboard Energy Audit (PDF) for all residential home participants in the program. For non-residential participants, installers must provide information on the Energy Star Portfolio Manager Benchmarking Tool, and online form.
New York NABCEP solar thermal installers should be up to speed on all of the details of this rebate program. If not, all of the information is available here.
The LIPA solar water heating program
The LIPA solar water heating program for Long Island home owners is a little less restrictive. As stated earlier, it’s just for home owners with electric water heating.
The amount is calculated at $20 per kBTU (based on an OG-100 SRCC collector rating) up to $1,500 or 50% of installed cost. However, a quality OG-300 system and installation will probably be more than 3,000, unless it’s a very small system. So expect to receive the full $1,500 rebate.
Full details on the LIPA solar hot water rebate program are available here.
If you’d like more information on this or any other solar incentive in your area for homes or businesses, please contact us.