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Best 3 Solar Companies in Rochester, NY

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Written By Max Peterson|Last Updated: April 18, 2024

Rochester homeowners are increasingly using solar panels to produce their electricity and heat their water. Local homeowners might go for solar to break free of high power costs from sources like natural gas. An experienced team can help you install and adjust a system that fits your energy needs without breaking the bank. In this article, we'll highlight Rochester's best solar providers and offer suggestions for your company choice, so you can find the ideal one for your home.

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 Rochester Solar Companies

Paradise Energy Solutions Logo

Paradise Energy Solutions

4.6/5
Based on 30 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Cleaning And MaintenanceConsultationBattery StoragePanel Installation

Highlights

  • Clear pricing policy
  • Informative resources
  • Reliable customer support
2351 Ny-14, Geneva, NY 607-243-3723 paradisesolarenergy.com
Go Solar WNY Logo

Go Solar WNY

4.7/5
Based on 18 customer reviews.

Services Offered

Financing AssistancePanel InstallationBattery StorageConsultation

Highlights

  • Informative resources
  • Clear pricing policy
  • Reliable customer support
301 Walnut St, Lockport, NY 716-880-6000 gosolarwny.com

Ranking Methodology

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

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Facts about Rochester
Average Max Temp:55°F
Solar Payback Period:12.9 years
Average Daily Sunlight:54%
Homes Powered by Solar:1,260
Average Annual Energy Bill:$906
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 offers multiple benefits. Here are some highlights.

  • Lowered energy bills: Solar panels let you generate your own energy to power your home, reducing your monthly electricity costs. You can eliminate your bills completely if you go off-grid.
  • Reduced carbon footprint: Using clean solar power means you're less dependent on fossil fuels, which emit harmful greenhouse gasses.
  • Better energy independence: Solar systems with battery backups function through blackouts and emergencies, and you won't have to depend on the grid for your safety and comfort.

What Solar Incentives Are Available to Rochester Homeowners?

Governments and utilities often incentivize homeowners for going solar. Here are some of the tax credits, rebates, or other programs you could qualify for.

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 Rochester

The cost and efficacy of solar panels often rely on the solar company that installed them. Here are some important factors to consider while searching for a solar company.

Licensing and Training

The New York state government does not issue licenses to contractors, so you should check with your county or city government for its specific requirements and regulations. You should also visit a company's website to learn about its private credentials. Two of the most prestigious are the Solar Heating Installer and PV Installation Professional 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 Rochester

The type of solar panels you select determines how much electricity you can produce. Monocrystalline panels give you the best performance but cost more upfront. Polycrystalline panels work with a tried-and-true mechanism and cost less, but produce less power. Thin-film panels aren't the best for large residential installations, but they are excellent accessories for non-traditional roofs.

You can also add battery backups and electric vehicle (EV) chargers. These will increase your total project price, but they can boost your solar system's performance. Not all solar contractors provide these extras, so look for a contractor that installs them if it's crucial for you.

A majority of Rochester homeowners choose solar systems sized for five kilowatts (kW) of electrical capacity. These systems run about $18,250 to set up, considering both materials and labor. You can find more specific cost information in the table.

Solar Panel CostAverage Cost
Solar Monocrystalline$1,177
Solar Polycrystalline$918
Thin-Film$537
Solar Battery$753
Solar Home EV Charger$2,824

Financing Solar Energy in Rochester

Choosing the correct financing solution will impact your overall solar system cost and expected savings. Common payment options include leases, cash payments, power purchase agreements, and loans. We recommend making a cash payment or securing a solar loan for the best return on investment (ROI). Cash payments require a hefty sum up-front, but you’ll pay the least long-term by avoiding interest. You’ll also own your system and can apply for solar incentives to cut your total costs. Solar loans are another solid option if you don’t want to make a big initial investment. You can pay for your system in installments while still benefiting from energy bill savings and solar incentives. However, you’ll spend more in total due to accruing interest. Solar leases involve paying a set monthly rate to use rooftop panels. A PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) permits you to pay a monthly rate based only on the energy you use, akin to an electric bill. We typically don’t recommend these two choices because you won't own the panels and are disqualified from using solar incentives. Look for companies 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 Rochester.

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

Solar System CapacityEstimated Payback period
1 kW2.6 years
2 kW5.1 years
5 kW12.9 years
10 kW25.7 years

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Frequently Asked Questions About Solar in Rochester

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

Most Rochester homeowners spend about $906 on energy each year. Your costs could drop by $829.19 for each kilowatt you generate after you pay off a solar array.

Is solar energy readily available in Rochester?

Yes, solar energy is on the rise in Rochester. Some homes already generate solar power on-site or through utility grids, and they're backed by a state solar economy with 10740 workers and counting.

Will a solar PV system improve my Rochester home worth?

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

What if I live in a rainy or dark

Even if your property has high tree cover, you could still benefit from solar energy. Your contractor will optimize your system's performance by selecting the proper site for panels, installing a battery backup system, cleaning them regularly, and positioning them to capture the most sunlight throughout the year. This way, you can keep solar energy longer and utilize it as necessary.

What can I do to estimate my home's solar potential?

To determine your home's solar readiness, nothing substitutes for a comprehensive estimate from a local solar installer. However, you can use the PVWatts tool for a simple solar viability prediction based on public data, including local weather and topography, system size, tree cover, and panel efficiency.

What size should my new Rochester solar system be?

A typical Rochester solar home has a 4.2-kW panel array, but you might need a bigger system if your energy needs are higher. Solar contractors will consider your property's energy consumption and roof shading to recommend the appropriate system for you.

What are the signs I shouldn't use a particular solar company for my job?

Even the most esteemed Rochester solar providers will have both favorable and negative reviews. To make the most informed choice possible, focus on these warning signs to know if a company isn't worth your investment:
  • Aggressive sales pitch
  • Not being straightforward about training and credentials, cost, warranties and references
  • Inflexible options
  • Not thoroughly inspecting your site
  • Limited online information

What's the difference between a PPA and traditional financing?

A PPA is an agreement between you and your provider. They install, own, and maintain the panels, and you buy the generated electricity from them for 10–25 years. There will usually be options to extend the agreement and buy out early to own your system.

In contrast, solar loans can come from specialty lenders, local banks, the government and installer. You'll need to pass a credit check to qualify for most of them. While the upfront costs are higher, and you'll be responsible for upkeep, you'll also have total ownership and can apply for many more financial rewards.

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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