Governor Andrew M. Cuomo this week signed legislation that will allow Long Island homeowners to fund the purchase of their rooftop solar energy systems through state loans that are paid back through their energy bill.
The bill, originally proposed two years ago by Assemblyman Steven Englebright (D-Setauket) but sponsored by two upstate legislators, is expected to give a needed boost to the local solar rooftop market.
The new law allows customers to borrow up to $25,000 of the cost of a solar system through state loans at around 3 to 4% interest. The loans are through the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA). The program aims to reduce energy bills by approximately the amount of the monthly loan payment — thus largely eliminating the high upfront cost of systems.
Englebright, a co-sponsor of the newly signed bill who has long supported renewable energy causes, hailed its passage. “This adds incentives in a way that over time more and more people will have an opportunity to save money and improve home equity” by the addition of energy-producing solar panels, he said.
LIPA spokeswoman Elizabeth Flagler said the authority will offer the program. Englebright and local installers say they expect the authority to be quick to adopt it.
Matt Nelligan, a senior aide to state Senator George Maziarz (R-Newfane), who sponsored the bill, said the measure also would provide up to $50,000 in loans to small businesses and not-for-profits to install solar energy systems. Gordian Raacke, executive director of Renewable Energy Long, said the program will give a big boost to home solar sales because it will address the high-cost of systems.
Excerpts of original article by MARK HARRINGTON, Published in Newsday, October 24, 2013