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Solar Thermal Incentive Program

Fed. Government
Local Government
Multi-Family Residential
State Government
Savings Category 
Solar Water Heat
Maximum Rebate 

Residential: $4,000 per site/meter
Non-residential: $25,000 per site/meter
Incentive also capped at 80% of calculated existing thermal load

Program Info
Funding Source 

RPS surcharge

Start Date 


Expiration Date 


New York
Program Type 
State Rebate Program
Rebate Amount 

$1.50 per kWh displaced annually, for displacement of up to 80% of calculated existing thermal load

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers incentives for the installation of solar water heating systems to residential and non-residential customers of the state's major investor-owned utilities. The program is part of the Customer-Sited Tier (CST) of the state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) affecting electric utilities, thus systems must generally supplement an electric water heater in order to qualify for the program. Both existing buildings and new construction are eligible for incentives. Otherwise eligible customers that use a fossil fuel (propane, natural gas, or oil) for water heating may be eligible for a small amount of non-RPS funding (contact NYSERDA for details and information on funding availability).

Incentives are based on the amount of electricity displaced by the solar water heating system. The incentive is set at $1.50 per annual kilowatt-hour (kWh) displaced, up to $4,000 for residential systems and $25,000 for non-residential systems. Though no specific limits on system size are identified, incentives are only available for the amount of displaced kWh that does not exceed 80% of calculated existing thermal load. Systems that displace higher percentages of thermal load may be eligible for funding, but the incentive would be capped at the 80% displacement level. The value for kWh displaced is based on the SRCC OG-300 estimate of system production and/or standard industry software such as RETScreen, or SolarPathfinder thermal program. The installer must analyze each system for energy production losses associated with shading, system orientation, tilt, etc. and provide this information to NYSERDA with the application. Incentive levels may be revised every two months based on program demand and market conditions.

Installers of eligible systems must be pre-approved by NYSERDA. As of June 30, 2012 approval requires certification by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). In addition to the installer requirements, there are also a variety of equipment requirements for eligible systems. Installers must perform a Clipboard Energy Audit for all residential (1-4 family homes) participants in the program, conduct a debriefing with the homeowner describing ways in which electricity use could be reduced, and provide the homeowner with information on NYSERDA and utility energy efficiency incentive programs, For non-residential participants, installers must provide information on the Energy Star Portfolio Manager Benchmarking Tool, assist the building owner in entering utility information into the tool (if desired), and provide information on NYSERDA and utility energy efficiency incentive programs.

A total of roughly $25 million is available for incentives through December 31, 2015, funded from the RPS surcharge on customer electricity bills. Please see Program Opportunity Notice 2149 (PON 2149), listed as the program web site at the top of this page, for further information on the program.

Other Information 

All solar thermal systems and components must be new (used or refurbished monitoring meters permitted); collectors and hot water tanks must be SRCC-rated and listed as program eligible in Power Clerk; five year all-inclusive, fully transferable warranty required on installation and components against degradation of more than 10% from rated output.