Sunlight is a renewable energy resource, one that regenerates and cannot easily be used up. Solar electric systems convert energy from the sun into electricity even on cold or cloudy days. In contrast with electricity generated by fossil fuels, electricity generated by solar electric systems creates no noise, air, or water pollution.

Solar panels can be installed either on a roof or on the ground of homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, government buildings, and many other community organizations.

Read on about solar electric systems, including the benefits; how they work; common misconceptions; financing, tax rebates, and incentives; and common terminology.

How Solar Electric Systems Work

A solar electric system converts sunlight into electricity using solar cells. Solar cells contain special materials called semiconductors (usually made of silicon). Panels of solar cells are mounted on your roof or the ground and convert particles of light energy, known as photons, into direct current (DC) electricity. An inverter changes DC power into alternating current, which we know as AC.

Most New Yorkers choose a grid-connected system. Grid-connected systems are tied to the local utility, which means that you?can tap into the grid for electricity whenever you need it. One of the big bonuses of a grid-tied system is called net metering, which can earn credits with your utility company and generate savings on future energy bills.

Find a Qualified Solar Electric System Installer

NYSERDA maintains a list of solar installers. Your solar installer will handle the following steps for you:

  • Inspect your location to determine the best system size and placement options.
  • Assist with paperwork for applying to the NY-Sun Incentive Program, including financing options.
  • Perform the installation and submit all paperwork to NYSERDA on your behalf.

Benefits of Solar

Installing solar electric systems offers several advantages, including:

  • Provide long-term stabilization of electrical costs
  • Do not generate greenhouse gases
  • Can provide power during a power outage if combined with a battery backup system
  • Reduce customer?s out-of-pocket cost with incentives and financing options
  • Federal and state tax credits may apply


Solar Electric Clean Power Estimator for Residential/Small Commercial

The Clean Power Estimator uses the data provided to gather information about your utility rates, available sunlight at your site, and all available incentive and tax credits to generate a customized estimate of the costs and savings of installing a solar electric system using a participating contractor under NY-Sun Incentive Program.

View the Clean Power Estimator

Click here for the Village of Scotia, NYS Unified Solar permit application: