This year Solar One is starting to draw on our experience on-the-ground providing solar technical assistance, workforce development, and climate education to advocate for more equitable clean energy policy in New York. Thus far we have focused on expanding relationships, learning from leaders in the field, and finding ways to meaningfully contribute ongoing climate justice coalitions. This spring we are also advocating for changes to solar incentives that we work with daily in our solar technical assistance for affordable housing. 

Expand and Make New York State’s Residential Solar Tax Credit Refundable 

The New York State Solar Residential Tax Credit provides homeowners, including coops and condos, a tax credit for 25% of the cost a solar system. However, the tax credit is inaccessible to low-income homeowners and seniors who don’t pay income taxes, and since 2006, the $5,000 cap has remained flat without any inflationary adjustment. This makes it particularly hard for the HDFC coops and low-income homeowners that we work with to go solar because they often do not benefit equitably from this incentive. Solar One has been working in alignment with the solar industry, environmental justice groups, affordable housing providers and other clean energy groups to ask the State Legislature to: 

  • Make the tax credit refundable so low-income homeowners and seniors can benefit from this incentive; 
  • Increase the maximum tax credit to $10,000 to adjust for inflation and allow for energy storage expenses; 
  • Eliminate the arbitrary system size cap that reduces the value of this incentive for residents in co-ops or condos; and 
  • Make energy storage equipment expenses eligible to incentivize resilient solar. 

The proposal to expand the tax credit was included in the Senate One House budget published in March (S4009B Part HH), but an amendment is needed to clarify that the tax credit is refundable for low-income homeowners and residents of disadvantaged communities.  You can support this important initiative by calling the Governor, your Assemblymembers and Senators today and advocating for the expansion with refundability to be included in the final state budget. 

Climate, Jobs and Justice 

Solar One is supporting the work of New York Renews, a statewide coalition comprised of over 300 environmental, justice, faith, labor, and community groups. This week, we joined with hundreds of members of NY Renews in Albany to urge the state to include the Climate Jobs and Justice package in the final state budget. This package of bills secures funding and concrete strategies to implement the State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. We encourage you to learn more and take action today on advancing these progressive proposals for a just transition.  

Please call to voice your support today! The budget could be finalized at any time in the next few days, and every call makes a difference. 

Please reach out to Solar One’s Policy Analyst, Kate Selden, to share any questions, feedback or ideas for how we may be able to collaborate on equitable solar policy in the future.