Power to the people

And a tax credit to boot, as solar-energy incentive becomes law

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New York State residents who lease and enter into solar-energy purchase agreements can now claim a personal income tax credit of up to $5,000, under a bill just signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Taxpayers who lease or sign a power-purchase agreement on a solar system for at least 10 years will qualify for the tax credit, which had been available only to those who purchased the equipment. The new law also exempt businesses from paying state sales taxes on commercial solar equipment.

“Solar leasing and on-bill financing agreements are the future of the installation industry,” Asemblyman Kevin Cahill said in a news release. “They make it easier for people to make common sense investments that will reduce their monthly bills from day one.”

Cahill, the chairman of the Assembly Energy Committee, called the solar tax incentive package a positive step that will help expand the market for renewable energy systems in the state. He also called on Cuomo and the state Legislature to act on the Solar Jobs Act, which he said could help attract industry investment in the state.

The jobs legislation would mandate that 3,000 megawatts of New York State’s power supply be derived from solar energy by 2021. The initiative, which has 80 co-sponsors, has received strong bipartisan backing in the Assembly and is supported by a diverse coalition of labor, business and environmental organizations, Cahill said.

“Solar is going to play a critical role in our energy future, and New York has the potential to be a leader in the industry’s evolution,” Cahill added.

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