Go solar for $0 out of pocket, lower your electric bill, lock in a price that stays the same for the next 20 years, and get up to a $5,000 state tax credit. Most people have heard some form of that pitch, and that sounds good to pretty much everyone. The next question is always, “What’s the catch?”

The catch is that you need to qualify. Qualifying means that your home gets enough sunlight and has enough available roof space to accommodate panels. That’s easy enough to understand. So, what am I qualifying for?

Every ratepayer in New York pays a small charge on their power bill either called an “efficiency and renewables” charge or SBC/RPS charge. That money helps fund a rebate program, which ultimately pays money upfront for your project on your behalf. You can go solar for $0 down because New York State is putting money down today so that you don’t have to. Whether you choose to go solar or not, you are paying money every month on your electric bill to help pay for solar panel installations.

Only those who have a qualified home are eligible to receive the benefit of this charge that we all pay for. If everyone could go solar for $0 and no one had to pay for it that would be too good to be true. The reality is we’re all paying for it, and only a small percentage of homes will actually qualify.

But why would they pay these rebates?

It’s a fair question. The utilities in New York have been mandated to get more of their energy from renewable sources. Our utility grid is very old and simply cannot handle the demand. To make it simple, there are too many people using too much power.

The solution is to have homeowners generate their own electricity, which reduces the strain put on the grid and saving homeowners money in the process with a cheaper, fixed cost of electricity. Not to mention New York State gives homeowners up to $5,000 for having a system installed through a personal tax credit.

The amount of rebate money available continues to decrease as more homeowners make the switch to solar, so in order to maximize your savings find out if your home qualifies for solar today!