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Solar panels becoming more affordable for homeowners

By August 24, 2015October 31st, 2022News

The following is a report aired on WIVB-TV in Buffalo NY.

DEPEW, N.Y. (WIVB)- Western New York’s alternative energy market is booming, but solar power isn’t just for businesses and the tech industry.

Solar panels are becoming more and more affordable for homeowners, and experts say now is the time to act.

State and federal tax incentives for solar panel installation expire at the end of 2016. Sean Law of Depew told News 4 he wanted to cash in on those kickbacks before time runs out.

“We were just tired of paying electricity with the rising cost of electric, and we’re doing a full renovation on the house so it just made the most sense to do it now,” he said.

The State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) found that the average cost of home solar panels is just over $15,000, but after rebates and tax incentives, homeowners end up paying about half of that.

Law paid around $8,000 for his solar panels. They’ll pay for themselves in savings in under seven years.

They’re being installed by Solar Liberty. Residential Solar Consultant for Solar Liberty, Nate VerHague told News 4 cost effectiveness is at it’s peak.

“We’ve about a 21 percent decrease in the cost of solar technology since 2008, and with the tax incentives where they’re at right now, it’s as good a time as any to go solar,” he said.

It’s an especially good time to go solar if you live in Buffalo; despite being the second largest  city in the state, it’s the cheapest when it comes to solar power because the Queen City has lot of companies who provide it.

“The supply is going up so that’s just driving the cost down,” said VerHague.

Buffalo has the lowest cost per kilo watt of any city in the state, just more than $1,300. In New York City it’s around $2,500.

“We’re still in August, we’re still getting tons of solar exposure. You’re not going to have an electric bill, you’re just going to have that general service charge anywhere from $15 to $17 a month,” VerHague told News 4.

The panels start working immediately. The moment they’re installed, Law’s electric bill is gone.

“Everything’s rising. Gas, electric, it just makes sense,” Law said.

More and more homeowners are going solar in Western New York, and Verhague said the size of the installations are growing too.