When I penned my first blog post on the new Community Energy website last Wednesday: Rooftop Solar on Long Island: The Time Is Now!, I had no way of knowing that two days later LIPA would end its rebate program. Now this doesn't mean that you can't go solar in Long Island anymore. It simply means that it is going to cost you more today than it would have last week.
This is the story of solar power.
Because making solar power economical for your home still requires incentives that are generally offered on a state-by-state basis, like solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) in New Jersey, or rebates (like the Massachusetts Commonwealth Solar Program) or tax credits (like the $5,000 New York State Solar Tax Credit), when these incentives go away, new solar installation basically ceases. It is always a little disconcerting because people who have been thinking about solar suddenly have the economics changed on them when one of these programs ends, like the other day in Long Island.
At the same time, it is a good reminder: if you are looking at a proposal for a zero-down Solar Lease or a Solar Power Purchase Agreement or even a cash purchase of a solar panel system in Connecticut (CT), Massachusetts (MA), New Jersey (NJ) or New York (NY), don't wait too long before making a decision. You might just miss the window like many people did in Long Island last week.
The news from Long Island is the perfect example of what I said in my last post, despite the news about the cost of solar going down, when these rebate programs and other incentive programs go away, the cost to you actually increases. With a strong focus on making solar cost-competitive without subsidies, you will see more of these programs going away. And even an industry insider can be surprised by how quickly it can happen. The cost benefits of solar power today in Connecticut (CT), Massachusetts (MA), New Jersey (NJ) and New York (NY) are heavily dependent on state incentives and those incentives are currently in place. Don't miss them.