Long Island Power Authority Reduces Solar Rebates Once Again
Aug 20, 2010
by EmPower Solar
In 2009, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) was paying solar system owners $3.50 per watt of electric power capacity installed as part of its Solar Pioneer Program. That means the utility could literally pay you $35,000 ” half the total cost – for a typical 10kw residential system. This is not including federal and state tax credits, which can further reduce the cost to owners.
I came back to EmPower full time upon completing my degree earlier this summer, when rebates were down to $2.00. After a few weeks, we got word that the rebates were going down even further, and might even dry up for the rest of the year! Luckily that didn’t happen, but rebates have officially been lowered to $1.75 per watt for up to 10kw or $17,500.
What does this mean for homeowners who want to go solar? Well, fortunately system costs have gone down as well. It’s a typical effect of supply and demand: demand for solar panels have skyrocketed in the past few years nationwide, so industry kicked up production and took advantage of economies of scale. It’s still a great time to go solar, as rebates tend to stay somewhat proportional to system cost. But it is likely that utility rebate funding will indeed dry up in the near future. This is a tribute to the success of the program ” and the awesome fact that Long Islanders are supporting the clean energy mission ” but the money won’t be available forever. If you are at all considering going solar, now is the time. Solar panels are cost effective anyway, but you don’t want to miss the chance to have LIPA pay a large chunk of your system cost and reduce the payback by a few years. Given the speed at which rebates have been dropping, there is no predicting how long they’ll last.
See for yourself a rebate update on LIPA’s Solar Pioneer Rebate Block Guidelines Site website. If you follow some links to the rebate block graph, you can see the rate at which the rebates are being dispersed.