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Best 3 Solar Companies in Buffalo, NY

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

With Buffalo's clear skies and little rainfall, it's an ideal area for homeowners and businesses looking to harness the additional sunlight. Local homeowners might opt for solar to break free of high power costs from sources like natural gas. A knowledgeable solar company can help you install and optimize a system that meets your energy needs without costing a fortune. In this article, we'll highlight Buffalo's best solar companies and offer tips for your company choice, so you can find the ideal one for your household.

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 Buffalo Solar Companies

Solar By CIR Buffalo Logo

Solar By CIR Buffalo

4.6/5
Based on 62 customer reviews.

Services Offered

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

Highlights

  • Reliable customer support
  • Free quotes
  • Informative resources
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 Permit Assistance Residential Panels Maintenance

Highlights

  • Reliable customer support
  • Free quotes
  • Clear pricing policy
2226 N Rd, Scottsville, NY 585-305-2574 geothermhvac.com

Ranking Methodology

We reviewed a multitude of Buffalo solar companies, using the following criteria to select the best:

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Facts about Buffalo
Average Max Temp: 54°F
Solar Payback Period: 12.9 years
Average Daily Sunlight: 49%
Homes Powered by Solar: 1,563
Average Annual Energy Bill: $897
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 has several advantages that will enhance your home for years to come.

  • Lowered energy bills: Solar panels allow you to generate your own energy to power your home, minimizing your monthly electricity costs. Going off-grid can eliminate your bills completely.
  • Reduced carbon footprint: Using solar is a surefire way to lower your carbon footprint and home fossil fuel dependency.
  • Better energy independence: Solar energy can keep your home powered through emergencies and blackouts. You can use your solar energy anytime with optional battery storage.

What Solar Incentives Are Available to Buffalo Homeowners?

New York homeowners who upgrade to solar could qualify for tax credits, rebates, reimbursements and special financing. Here are just a few of the area's incentive programs.

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 Buffalo

The more comprehensive your provider search is, the better your solar installation will ultimately work. Consider all of these elements in your company search.

Licensing and Training

New York regulators do not issue licenses to contractors, so you should check with your city or county government for its specific requirements and regulations. You should also visit a company's website to learn about its private certifications. Two of the most respected are the PV Installation Professional and Solar Heating Installer certificates, granted by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP). Some companies don't publish this information online, so you should also ask your estimator about them.

Cost of Solar Panels in Buffalo

Your solar modules' model will affect how much electricity you can generate. Monocrystalline panels cost the most but perform the best. Polycrystalline panels offer you a budget panel with a traditional design, but at the cost of less power generation. Thin-film panels are excellent for non-traditional roof shapes and cost the least, but don't work well for large residential installations.

If you'd like to charge an electric car or use your solar power in dark weather, you can pay extra for accessories. By choosing the right components, you can make your system more effective and convenient to use. Not all solar contractors include these optional components, so look for a company that installs them if it's a priority for you.

A majority of Buffalo homeowners select solar systems rated for five kilowatts (kW) of electrical capacity. These systems run about $18,250 to set up, considering both materials and labor. You can see more specific cost information 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 Buffalo

Choosing the best financing plan will influence your overall solar system cost and possible savings. Common payment options include leases, loans, cash payments, and power purchase agreements. Though it requires a large up-front payment, cash is the most affordable choice because it doesn't accrue interest and qualifies you for incentives. Solar loans are the runner-up option. As with a car loan or mortgage, you'll pay a monthly rate towards system ownership, including interest. You can still apply for valuable solar incentives, and depending on your lender, you could put as little as $0 down. Solar leases let you use your panels for a fixed 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. Ask each company you're evaluating about the financing options it offers. A representative can help you determine the best option for your financial situation.

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

The IRS allows you to claim a 26% federal tax credit on total system costs, so long as you purchase it before 2032. City and state governments and utilities might also offer their own financing programs, rebates, and incentives that could save you more money.

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 Buffalo

How much energy and money could I save per year by switching to solar?

Most Buffalo homeowners spend about $897 on energy each year. Your costs could drop by $697.24 for each kilowatt you generate after you pay off a solar array.

Is solar energy widely available in Buffalo?

Yes, solar energy is becoming increasingly popular in Buffalo. 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 boost in my property value after switching to solar energy?

Yes, solar energy systems will boost your property value. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, for every dollar you reduce on energy bills, your home value increases by $20. So, if your panels save you $600 per year on energy costs, your property could appreciate $12,000.

What's a Buffalo solar panel's average lifespan?

Modern solar installations are built to last. The average panel is good for 25 years of service. Budget panels tend to last shorter than higher-quality models.

How long does the photovoltaic installation process last?

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

How do I care for my new solar system?

To protect your solar system's performance, inspections and cleanings every six months are usually adequate. In dusty or dry seasons, your panels might need cleanings every few months. Your provider can recommend a maintenance schedule. Its team could also do the cleaning for you.

How does "net metering" work, and do I need to participate?

Net metering is a method that credits solar homeowners for any excess electricity they generate and return to the grid.

Some states or power companies mandate you to participate in net metering when purchasing your solar system, while others give you a choice. Either way, once you participate, you'll receive a bill credit or check for your excess generation at a wholesale or retail rate.

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

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