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4 Facts: Why C&I Solar Makes Sense in the Northeast

Map showing Tri state area of NY, CT and NJ
New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

Have you considered installing solar energy to power up your business, but wonder if you’d fully reap the benefits if you are located in the northeast area vs. states like Florida or Arizona? The answer is “absolutely.”

Fact #1: Solar panels work on sunlight, not heat.

Solar panel systems are designed to work throughout the entire year, including winter. While solar energy production may be lower during the winter months in colder states compared to the summer months due to the shorter days, it is a valuable and reliable source of renewable energy all year long.

Weather elements during the winter do not reduce the quality, efficiency, or durability of solar cells. Solar systems make electricity even in sub-freezing temperatures as long as the solar panels face the sunshine. And, snow-covered surroundings can act as a reflective surface, potentially increasing the amount of diffuse light reaching the panels and improving their performance.

The overall annual energy production of the potential solar system should be considered, rather than focusing solely on the winter season.

Fact #2: Electricity rates are high in the Northeast.

While Hawaii pays the highest electricity rates, one state in the Northeast, Connecticut, pays the highest in the continental U.S., with Massachusetts a close second. The Northeast region relies heavily on burning imported fossil fuels like natural gas to generate electricity. These fuels are costly – and their prices are increasing steadily over time.

In addition to the longstanding pipeline capacity problem in the Northeast, the structural configuration for how the New England grid procures power has kept it wedded to fossil fuels — especially natural gas — with a resulting reliance on the high-priced spot market when the weather gets cold.

An advantage to solar energy in colder states is that the demand for electricity tends to be higher during colder months due to heating needs. Solar panels offset some of that demand, thereby reducing reliance on other energy sources while fighting off additional seasonal charges.

Fact #3: Commercial solar incentives are strong in these U.S. States.

The Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a significant incentive for commercial and industrial solar installations for all 50 U.S. states. This program reduces the federal income liability for a percentage of the cost of a solar system that is installed during the tax year. As of now, the base credit is 30%, and is slated to decrease in percentage over time.

Individual states have additional state-specific programs to help offset the costs of a solar system installation. These state solar incentives can be combined with the federal solar tax credit. Here are a few overviews of three Northeast states:

  • In New Jersey the Board of Public Utilities established a Successor Solar Incentive Program, known as the “SuSi Program’ which is composed of two sub-programs. Financial incentives are based on solar project size and type.

  • The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Programs (known as NYSERDA) provides various solar financial incentives. Their NY-Sun Commercial and Industrial Incentive Program also depends on the system size and location within the New York Grid.

  • Connecticut commercial energy incentives include the Non-Residential Solar Renewable Energy Solutions (NRES) program which is authorized to run for six years. The Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) Financing enables commercial property owners to obtain long-term, low-cost financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects such as solar installations, and the Connecticut Green Bank offers various programs to promote renewable energy adoption.

[If you would like more information on commercial solar state incentives for the tri-state area, you can read more here: New Jersey Solar Incentives, New York Solar Incentives, Connecticut Solar Incentives. Interested in other state incentives?

Reach out to us.]

Fact #4: Solar energy in colder states just makes cents in the Northeast.

While solar energy production may be lower in the winter due to reduced sunlight and potential snow coverage, solar panels can still contribute to energy generation and offer long-term benefits throughout the year.

The combination of high electricity costs and the available incentives for solar energy use and adoption in the Tri-State area makes it the smart choice for financial and environmental reasons to power businesses.

Smart Roofs Energy is committed to helping businesses reduce operating costs and provides solar energy to all types of businesses and nonprofits. For more information about solar incentives, reach out to us.


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