An employee of NY State Solar installs solar panels on a...

An employee of NY State Solar installs solar panels on a roof on Aug. 11 in Massapequa. Credit: AP / John Minchillo

The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act provides strong new incentives for customers contemplating green-energy upgrades such as solar power, energy-efficiency fixes and heat pumps, while providing the companies that supply and install them with a decadelong window of certainty about the subsidies.

There are also incentives for utility-scale green-energy sources and upgrades and a new tax credit for nuclear facilities, such as the upstate Nine Mile Point 2 facility in which the Long Island Power Authority has a 18% share. And there's billions in funding for infrastructure and energy programs that could benefit Brookhaven National Laboratory. 

Solar installers on Long Island are cheering the return of the 30% tax credit for solar installations, a move that would cut around a third of the cost of systems that typically sell for about $25,000. The credit had been expected to reduce to 22% next year before expiring altogether by 2024. Now, the credit will extend through 2032, before reducing to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034.

The 30% tax credit, which comes in tax-refund checks the year after the work is complete, is retroactive to 2022 and applies to residential solar, wind, geothermal and biomass fuel installations, according to an assessment by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

There’s also an expanded credit for energy efficiency improvements in the home — to 30% from the current 10%, according to the center, and an extension to 2032. A former lifetime cap on home efficiency credits is replaced by a $1,200 annual limit, including $600 for efficient windows and $500 for doors.

But just as important as the new credits and rebates, said David Schieren, board president of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association, is the 10-year window to obtain them that the Biden administration included in the recently approved package.

“It’s tremendous,” said Schieren, who is also chief executive of installer EmPower Solar of Island Park, because the incentives provide an industry that has dealt with varying rebates and shifting tax credits over the past 20 years with a decade of certainty for the programs.

Heat pumps, which provide energy-efficient heating and cooling for homes and offices using electricity, also are scheduled to get their first 30% federal tax credit under the program, a big boost for New York State’s plan to see the heating sector shift to primarily electrification over fossil fuels.

“It’s a win-win for customers, especially low-income customers,” said Michael Nikfar, owner of HVAC Plus, an installer of heating and cooling systems in Great Neck. He’s particularly optimistic about systems that combine both solar and heat pumps, which can obviate the need for grid-based power altogether if the solar systems are the right size.

But much work needs to be done educating customers about the programs. PSEG Long Island, which administers rebate programs for all sorts of efficient appliances, said it was still reviewing the new federal law and wouldn’t provide specifics on how it would impact programs.

Green-energy groups have been cheering the new incentives, offering some early glimpses of how much they can reduce bills.

For average customers, the provisions for home efficiency retrofits increase the limit for heat-pump tax credits to $2,000, and pays for home-energy audit costs up to $150. Rebates for average homeowners can range up to $4,000, depending on the efficiency of the unit, according to Rewiring America, a green-energy group.

More generally, PSEG spokeswoman Elizabeth Flagler said the act “will allow our customers to have greater access to energy efficient cooling, heating and appliances that will help to lower their bills and demand on our system.”

Flagler said credits will “support renewable technologies including solar and offshore wind, which is expected to contribute to a much larger share of overall energy production for Long Island and all of New York State after 2025.” Changes in the electric vehicle tax credits, she said, could “boost sales of electric vehicles over the long term, providing residents with a cleaner form of transportation.”

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which administers the state programs, said it too was “currently reviewing the new law to see how it will specifically impact our programs,” but offered no specifics. “Ultimately, New York's Climate Act and the federal Inflation Reduction Act will work together to deliver more affordable and cleaner energy, healthier places to live and work, and expanded economic opportunities for all New Yorkers,” NYSERDA said.

Neal Lewis, executive director of the Sustainability Institute at Molloy University, said customers who were on the fence about energy-saving appliances and solar energy probably will have enough to change their mind through the new incentives.

“Any homeowner who is looking at high fuel prices should basically sit down with a pencil and pad and do a fresh analysis,” said Lewis. Heat pumps especially, he said, have seen limitations based on limited rebates and a small tax credit.

“There are upfront costs, as with anything, and these tax incentives are really intended to get people over that initial bump,” Lewis said.

Scott Maskin, chief executive of SUNation Solar Systems, which has been exploring a way into the heat pump market to augment its solar business, said interest following the act is “definitely going to increase our business.”

“It’s set to really help the return on investment for people to make the decision to go with solar and storage batteries,” he said.

Maskin said the bill’s provisions to incentivize domestic production of solar panels and batteries will help — if there’s a movement to take advantage of the incentives. The bill includes more than $60 billion for clean-energy and transportation manufacturing incentives.

“We should be capitalizing on this locally as well,” he said. “If some companies move to the U.S. to produce panels or U.S. manufacturers pivot to take advantage of these great incentives, we could become players in a global multibillion dollar industry.”

Brookhaven National Lab spokesman Peter Genzer noted the federal act provides $2 billion in needed infrastructure for national labs, and another $1.5 billion for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science, from which BNL derives its primary funding. 

"In particular we see Brookhaven contributing to the modernization of the nation’s electric grid and battery storage solutions to take advantage of new sources of renewable energy, such as the multi-gigawatt offshore wind projects now in development off of Long Island," Genzer said, adding the lab also has expertise and active programs in nuclear physics and isotope production, "two other areas specifically mentioned in the Act.”

The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act provides strong new incentives for customers contemplating green-energy upgrades such as solar power, energy-efficiency fixes and heat pumps, while providing the companies that supply and install them with a decadelong window of certainty about the subsidies.

There are also incentives for utility-scale green-energy sources and upgrades and a new tax credit for nuclear facilities, such as the upstate Nine Mile Point 2 facility in which the Long Island Power Authority has a 18% share. And there's billions in funding for infrastructure and energy programs that could benefit Brookhaven National Laboratory. 

Solar installers on Long Island are cheering the return of the 30% tax credit for solar installations, a move that would cut around a third of the cost of systems that typically sell for about $25,000. The credit had been expected to reduce to 22% next year before expiring altogether by 2024. Now, the credit will extend through 2032, before reducing to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034.

The 30% tax credit, which comes in tax-refund checks the year after the work is complete, is retroactive to 2022 and applies to residential solar, wind, geothermal and biomass fuel installations, according to an assessment by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

There’s also an expanded credit for energy efficiency improvements in the home — to 30% from the current 10%, according to the center, and an extension to 2032. A former lifetime cap on home efficiency credits is replaced by a $1,200 annual limit, including $600 for efficient windows and $500 for doors.

But just as important as the new credits and rebates, said David Schieren, board president of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association, is the 10-year window to obtain them that the Biden administration included in the recently approved package.

“It’s tremendous,” said Schieren, who is also chief executive of installer EmPower Solar of Island Park, because the incentives provide an industry that has dealt with varying rebates and shifting tax credits over the past 20 years with a decade of certainty for the programs.

Heat pumps, which provide energy-efficient heating and cooling for homes and offices using electricity, also are scheduled to get their first 30% federal tax credit under the program, a big boost for New York State’s plan to see the heating sector shift to primarily electrification over fossil fuels.

“It’s a win-win for customers, especially low-income customers,” said Michael Nikfar, owner of HVAC Plus, an installer of heating and cooling systems in Great Neck. He’s particularly optimistic about systems that combine both solar and heat pumps, which can obviate the need for grid-based power altogether if the solar systems are the right size.

But much work needs to be done educating customers about the programs. PSEG Long Island, which administers rebate programs for all sorts of efficient appliances, said it was still reviewing the new federal law and wouldn’t provide specifics on how it would impact programs.

Green-energy groups have been cheering the new incentives, offering some early glimpses of how much they can reduce bills.

For average customers, the provisions for home efficiency retrofits increase the limit for heat-pump tax credits to $2,000, and pays for home-energy audit costs up to $150. Rebates for average homeowners can range up to $4,000, depending on the efficiency of the unit, according to Rewiring America, a green-energy group.

More generally, PSEG spokeswoman Elizabeth Flagler said the act “will allow our customers to have greater access to energy efficient cooling, heating and appliances that will help to lower their bills and demand on our system.”

Flagler said credits will “support renewable technologies including solar and offshore wind, which is expected to contribute to a much larger share of overall energy production for Long Island and all of New York State after 2025.” Changes in the electric vehicle tax credits, she said, could “boost sales of electric vehicles over the long term, providing residents with a cleaner form of transportation.”

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which administers the state programs, said it too was “currently reviewing the new law to see how it will specifically impact our programs,” but offered no specifics. “Ultimately, New York's Climate Act and the federal Inflation Reduction Act will work together to deliver more affordable and cleaner energy, healthier places to live and work, and expanded economic opportunities for all New Yorkers,” NYSERDA said.

Neal Lewis, executive director of the Sustainability Institute at Molloy University, said customers who were on the fence about energy-saving appliances and solar energy probably will have enough to change their mind through the new incentives.

“Any homeowner who is looking at high fuel prices should basically sit down with a pencil and pad and do a fresh analysis,” said Lewis. Heat pumps especially, he said, have seen limitations based on limited rebates and a small tax credit.

“There are upfront costs, as with anything, and these tax incentives are really intended to get people over that initial bump,” Lewis said.

Scott Maskin, chief executive of SUNation Solar Systems, which has been exploring a way into the heat pump market to augment its solar business, said interest following the act is “definitely going to increase our business.”

“It’s set to really help the return on investment for people to make the decision to go with solar and storage batteries,” he said.

Maskin said the bill’s provisions to incentivize domestic production of solar panels and batteries will help — if there’s a movement to take advantage of the incentives. The bill includes more than $60 billion for clean-energy and transportation manufacturing incentives.

“We should be capitalizing on this locally as well,” he said. “If some companies move to the U.S. to produce panels or U.S. manufacturers pivot to take advantage of these great incentives, we could become players in a global multibillion dollar industry.”

Brookhaven National Lab spokesman Peter Genzer noted the federal act provides $2 billion in needed infrastructure for national labs, and another $1.5 billion for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science, from which BNL derives its primary funding. 

"In particular we see Brookhaven contributing to the modernization of the nation’s electric grid and battery storage solutions to take advantage of new sources of renewable energy, such as the multi-gigawatt offshore wind projects now in development off of Long Island," Genzer said, adding the lab also has expertise and active programs in nuclear physics and isotope production, "two other areas specifically mentioned in the Act.”

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