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Best 3 Solar Companies in Amherst, NY

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Written By Max Peterson | Last Updated: February 05, 2024

The Amherst community is committed to protecting the environment and living greener lifestyles. That includes using alternative energy sources like solar. While switching to solar energy comes with upfront costs, local homeowners could ultimately save $680 per kilowatt on their electric bills. A professional installer can help you select the best panels to maximize your savings. On this page, we'll show you Amherst's premier solar companies and offer expert advice for your solar journey.

Best High-Efficiency System
4.8
  • Builds custom, high-efficiency solar systems suited to each home
  • Extensive coverage area throughout the country
  • Offers energy storage and EV charger add-ons
Best Solar Panel Leasing
4.4
  • Provides system monitoring
  • Offers diverse financing options for various budgets
  • Provides EV and solar battery solutions
Best Solar Panel Installation
4.4
  • Offers 7 panel brand options
  • 25-year workmanship warranty
  • Offers battery options

Top Amherst Solar Companies

Solar By CIR Buffalo Logo

Solar By CIR Buffalo

4.6/5
Based on 62 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Skilled Repairs Battery Storage Financing Assistance Residential Panels Commercial Panels Community Solar Projects

Highlights

  • Informative resources
  • Clear pricing policy
  • Free quotes
2517 Long Rd, Grand Island, NY 716-362-5000 solarbycir.com
Geotherm, Inc: Geothermal & Solar Experts Logo

Geotherm, Inc: Geothermal & Solar Experts

4.7/5
Based on 111 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Commercial Panels Financing Assistance Maintenance Residential Panels Permit Assistance

Highlights

  • Informative resources
  • Free quotes
  • Reliable customer support
2226 N Rd, Scottsville, NY 585-305-2574 geothermhvac.com

Ranking Methodology

Our team used the following criteria to determine the best Amherst solar companies.

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Facts about Amherst
Average Max Temp: 54°F
Solar Payback Period: 12.9 years
Average Daily Sunlight: 49%
Homes Powered by Solar: 773
Average Annual Energy Bill: $857
Solar Power per Capita Percentile: 48.0%

Expert Tips By

This Old House empowers homeowners with the knowledge and tools they need to tackle various projects and navigate the complexities of homeownership.

Benefits of Solar Energy

Solar energy provides numerous advantages that will enhance your home for years to come.

  • Better energy independence: Solar energy can keep your home functioning through emergencies and blackouts. You can use your solar energy anytime with optional battery backup.
  • Reduced carbon footprint: The sun is a highly abundant clean energy source, meaning you can reduce or eliminate your home's dependence on non-renewable sources.
  • Lowered energy bills: You can dodge the premium cost of grid-tied power by generating some electricity at home.

What Solar Incentives Are Available to Amherst Homeowners?

New York homeowners who decide on solar could qualify for tax credits, reimbursements, rebates and special financing. Here are just a few of the region's incentive offerings.

Incentive Type: PACE Financing

Website: nyserda.ny.gov

Incentive Amount:

Locally determined

Incentive Type: Personal Tax Credit

Website: tax.ny.gov

Incentive Amount:

25% for solar-electric (PV) and solar-thermal systems; for third-party owned systems this is in reference to the aggregate amount owed under the contract rather than the amount owed in any single year

Incentive Type: Corporate Tax Credit

Incentive Amount:

$0.01/gallon for each percent of biodiesel

Incentive Type: Loan Program

Website: ny-sun.ny.gov

Incentive Amount:

Residential Customers: $1,500 - $25,000

Small Business and Not-for-Profit Organizations:
Participation Loans: up to $100,000 (at low interest rate)
On-Bill Recovery loans: $50,000 at 2%

Incentive Type: Sales Tax Incentive

Incentive Amount:

100% exemption

Incentive Type: Sales Tax Incentive

Incentive Amount:

Upon local authorization, 100% exemption from local sales tax

Incentive Type: Sales Tax Incentive

Website: tax.ny.gov

Incentive Amount:

100% exemption from state sales tax

Incentive Type: Property Tax Incentive

Website: tax.ny.gov

Incentive Amount:

Upon local adoption, 20% - 100% of real property taxes owed; varies by year and certification level

Incentive Type: Property Tax Incentive

Website: tax.ny.gov

Incentive Amount:

100% of the value added to the residence by the improvements

Incentive Type: Property Tax Incentive

Website: tax.ny.gov

Incentive Amount:

100% exemption for 15 years (unless local jurisdiction has opted out)

Incentive Type: Rebate Program

Website: ny-sun.ny.gov

Incentive Amount:

Incentive rates step down over time as MW goals are met. Incentive rates as of 11/27/2019 are:

Residential:
Long Island Region: $0.00/W (MW blocks have been fully subscribed)
Con Edison Region: $0.30/W
Upstate Region: $0.35/W
Low-to-Moderate income customers: $0.80/W (up to 10 kW)

Small Commercial (Non-Residential): Long Island Region: $0.00/W (MW blocks have been fully subscribed)
Con Edison Region: $0.60/W
Up State Region: $0.45/W

Multifamily Affordable Housing Adder: additional $0.40/W (up to 50 kW)

Incentive Type: Rebate Program

Website: nyserda.ny.gov

Incentive Amount:

Small Systems (≤ 10 cooling tons): $1,500/cooling ton
Large Systems (> 10 cooling tons): $1,200/cooling ton

Incentive Type: Loan Program

Website: nyserda.ny.gov

Incentive Type: Other Incentive

Website: greenbank.ny.gov

Incentive Type: Personal Tax Credit

Website: tax.ny.gov

Incentive Amount:

$0.01/gallon for each percent of biodiesel

Incentive Type: Rebate Program

Website: nyserda.ny.gov

Incentive Amount:

Tier I: 10,000 kWh of expected annual energy production: $3.50/annual kWh
Tier II: 10,000 kWh - 125,000 kWh of expected annual energy production: $1.00/annual kWh
Tier III: 125,000 kWh - 1,000,000 kWh of expected annual energy production: $0.30/ annual kWh
Tier IV: Greater than 1,000,000 kWh of expected annual energy production: $0.15/ annual kWh
These incentives are additive.

Incentive Type: Performance-Based Incentive

Website: nyserda.ny.gov

Incentive Amount:

  • Capacity Incentive: Varies on the construction and design of the system
  • Performance Incentive: $0.025/kWh production payment for new systems for up to 10 years (estimated using a capacity factor of 75%)
  • Interconnection Incentive: up to 75% of the costs exceeding $5,000
  • Project Enhancement Incentives: Available for Black Start Capability, Hydrogen Sulfide reduction, design for accepting food waste and others

Incentive Type: Personal Tax Credit

Website: ecowatch.com

Incentive Amount:

30% federal tax credit for systems placed in service after 12/31/2021 and before 01/01/2033. Good for: solar water heat, solar photovoltaics, biomass, geothermal heat pumps, wind (small), fuel cells using renewable fuels.

How To Choose the Best Solar Company in Amherst

The more comprehensive your company research is, the better your solar installation will ultimately work. Make your choice based on the following crucial aspects.

Licensing and Training

New York state does not issue licenses to contractors, so you should check with your county or city government for its specific regulations and requirements. Check for private accreditations from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), one of the solar industry's most trusted trade groups. Its program includes certifications for both solar photovoltaic and water heating installers.

Cost of Solar Panels in Amherst

The type of solar panels you select decides how much energy you can generate. Monocrystalline panels cost more but give you the best performance. Polycrystalline panels work with a tried-and-true mechanism and cost less, but produce less power. Thin-film panels aren't meant for large home installations, but they're excellent for small projects like sheds and RVs.

Additional components, such as electric vehicle (EV) chargers and battery storage, will raise your overall costs. However, they might make your solar system more efficient and convenient to use. Not every solar company offers these extras, so look for a provider that installs them if it's a priority for you.

If you're a resident of Amherst and are looking into a five-kilowatt solar energy system, you could plan to spend about $18,250 for parts and installation. Find more information on specific component and panel costs in the table.

Solar Panel Cost Average Cost
Solar Monocrystalline $1,096
Solar Polycrystalline $855
Thin-Film $500
Solar Battery $702
Solar Home EV Charger $2,631

Financing Solar Energy in Amherst

Solar installers offer multiple different financing options to lower your costs and increase your savings. Though some providers offer unique payment plans, the most common are solar loans, power purchase agreements (PPAs), cash payments and solar leases. Though it requires a large up-front payment, cash is the most economical choice because it qualifies you for solar incentives and doesn't accrue interest. Solar loans are the second most effective option. As with a car or home loan, you'll pay a monthly rate towards system ownership, including interest. You can still apply for cost-saving solar incentives, and depending on your lender, you could put as little as $0 down. Solar leases allow you to use your panels for a set monthly rate, while PPAs let you pay only for the energy you use, similar to an electric bill. Both options disqualify you for solar incentives and don't grant you system ownership. Solar experts generally don't recommend them, but they might be suitable in some cases. Look for installers that offer two or more payment plans to find the right fit for your pocket.

The table below lists the average payback periods for different capacities of solar systems in Amherst.

A 26% federal tax credit applies to new residential solar equipment purchased through 2032. Extra incentives may be available through local governments, usually in the form of rebates and special financing programs.

Solar System Capacity Estimated Payback period
1 kW 2.6 years
2 kW 5.1 years
5 kW 12.9 years
10 kW 25.7 years

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Frequently Asked Questions About Solar in Amherst

How much money could I save by going solar in Amherst?

On average, Amherst homeowners pay around $857 per year for energy. Once you repay your solar array, you could reduce your costs by $682.47 for every kilowatt you produce.

How prevalent is solar energy in Amherst?

Yes, solar energy is becoming increasingly popular in Amherst. Some homes already benefit from solar power on-site or through utility grids, and they're supported by a state solar economy with 10740 workers and counting.

Should I expect a property value increase after adopting solar power?

Yes, new solar systems translate to higher property values according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL.) Homeowners could project a $20 property value increase for each dollar they save on energy. Therefore, $600 in energy savings could boost your property value by $12,000.

What if I live in a rainy or heavily-wooded

A solar system could still work well in dark areas. Your contractor will orient your panels to capture the most sunlight possible. They might also recommend a battery backup system to keep your system working at its best.

Is solar installation a quick job?

Your solar job's duration will depend on its size and complexity, as well as Amherst's permit and inspection procedures. It could take several weeks to a few months on average.

What is the average payback period for Amherst solar panels?

The average payback period for a solar loan in Amherst is 18.7 years. By paying off extra principal each month, you can shorten the payback period and own your system faster.

What are some "red flags" to watch for as I research companies?

Even the most highly-regarded Amherst solar providers will have both favorable and critical reviews. To make the most informed selection possible, focus on these signs to know if a company isn't worth your time:
  • Pushy sales approach
  • Dodging questions about training and credentials, cost, warranties and references
  • "One-size-fits-all" approach
  • Not thoroughly inspecting your site
  • Limited online information

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviewsteam@thisoldhousereviews.com.

Sources