New York State Proposes Creative Tax Incentives to Keep Solar off Farmland

Under these new tax incentives new solar panel installations will give you a tax deduction if they are placed on already occupied spaces. This includes areas such as seldom used sections of parking lots and on rooftops.


New York is like many states that really would like to see grow even more. The problem is, where do you put these solar farms given the fact a large portion of New York is both hilly and covered with woods? Solar farm installations in these hilly and wooded areas are nearly impossible and cost prohibitive. New York’s answer to that over the years has been to build large solar farms on land that can also be used for farming. As you might expect, this has caused a tremendous uproar from both farmers and environmental groups. 

Obviously, the desire to increase solar power use in the state combined with the lack of suitable wide open space has created a little bit of a quandary for those in charge in New York. So what did New York’s Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) come up with for a solution? The answer to that is a very creative way to boost solar power capacity and at the same time appease farmers and environmental groups. 

NYSERDA’s New Solar Installation Tax Incentive 

Yes, New York State is now offering tax incentives for new solar panel installations, but not in more conventional ways like before. There is a catch now as to where these new solar panel installations can be placed in order to qualify for the tax incentives. The emphasis is now on building new solar farms in spaces of land that are already being used for other purposes instead of continuing to shrink New York’s vast farmland resources. 

Under these new tax incentives, new solar panel installations will give you a tax deduction if they are placed on already occupied spaces. This includes areas such as seldom used sections of parking lots and on rooftops. There is even a provision to for companies to qualify for tax incentives if new solar panel farms are placed on top of virtually useless land such as that found over landfills. 

These new tax incentives only apply to commercial or industrial solar panel use and do not affect residential solar panel tax incentives at all.  

Solar Tax Incentives Help New York Reach its Lofty Energy Goals 

In Governor Cuomo’s time in office, New York has seen a very dramatic increase in both residential and commercial solar panel installations. The tax incentives are all part of the plan to help the state meet its very high solar power derived energy needs. Officials of the state have stated they would like to see 50% of New York State’s energy needs met by renewable energy sources in the next 12 years. 

That’s a pretty ambitious goal considering that currently only 23% of the state’s energy needs are met by renewable energy sources. It remains to be seen whether New York can hit that 50% renewable energy goal by the year 2030. One thing is for sure: having tax incentives like this one won’t hurt. They help avoid some of the past issues that have shrouded new solar panel installations around the state in controversy. 

Look for More States to Follow NY’s Lead 

Hats off to New York for coming up with a sensible way to appease two different sides of an argument. It’s a decision that is sure to keep New York’s solar panel installations in an upward trend. Best of all, the local farmers and environmental activists have been appeased too. New York is also setting a great example for other states to go by when modifying their solar panel tax laws and incentives. If it works well, you can bet other states in America will pass similar tax law incentives to help avoid new solar panel installations from taking up valuable farmland. 




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