By Roy L Hales
Though it can supply electricity for a fraction of the cost of conventional sources, there are great fluctuations in the market prices. The cost of an average installation ranges from $21,104 on Long Island to $11,715 in the Watertown area. A new report from Solar to the People shows the range of solar prices in New York state.
Solar Prices in New York State
Ryan Willemsen, of Solar to the People, gave several reasons for the range of installation prices.
“By far the biggest differences are due to the fact that there are strong per watt rebates (currently $0.40/watt) available in Upstate NY that are no longer available in the Long Island region. These rebates are through the NY-Sun Incentive Program,” he explained.
Comparing Long Island to Watertown, Willemsen said the installations tend to be slightly larger ( 9.59 kW vs 8.32 kW, during the first half of 2016). Wages in rural Upstate New York areas are also much lower than the relatively high-cost Long Island.
Long Island is an extremely transmission-constrained region. While obviously power prices are fluctuating all the time, National Grid (the supplier in Upstate NY) and the Long Island Power Authority (one of the two utilities in Long Island) that the power in Long Island is more than 3x more expensive per kWh.
The Average Cost
During the first half of the year, this average cost across the state amounted to $1,973/ kW (kilowatt) for a 8.32 kW installation, of solar installed, after incentives and rebates.
How Much Homeowners Save
Willemsen said it is difficult to calculate how much the average homeowners would save by installing solar panels.
“It really depends on a LOT of factors (how much you paid for panels, how much sun you’re getting, what time of year, what your panels are producing at, what the power rates are etc). However, in both regions based on some simplistic calcs (complex are not always better) that I ran back of the envelope, one would save roughly 66% on power costs over 20 years with panels in the Watertown area, while Long Island would save roughly 40%,” he explained.
Installations In New York
He added, “As of today, the NYSERDA NY-Sun database had 68,721 installations of less than 200 kW. While this database doesn’t include everything in New York (state), it gets a very significant portion of the installations, and is the most comprehensive data set available.”
Top Photo Credit: An installation in the snow – courtesy Taitem Engineering, New York