Going solar is a strategic way for wineries cut overhead costs by producing their own electricity, on-site. Thanks to New York State grants and Federal tax incentives, overall costs can be reduced by more than 75% after all incentives are utilized. In fact, many businesses are seeing a payback period of under five years on a solar project that produces free electricity for over 35 years!
The first incentive to take advantage of is from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). This is an up-front grant that is determined by system size. The current rate is $0.35 per watt which, for example, is $3,500 on a 10 kilowatt system or $35,000 on a 100 kilowatt system. The vineyard’s electric needs will determine the system size necessary.
Next, there is the Federal Investment Tax Credit which stands at 26% today. A winery that goes solar can claim 26% of the Gross Cost of a solar installation as a tax credit. As long as the business shows enough tax liability, 26% of the cost comes right back to them come tax time.
Third, there is advanced depreciation through the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS). Since the tax code changed in 2018, solar equipment is now eligible for a cost recovery period of as little as one year or up to five years, all depending on what is most beneficial to the vineyard.
There are further potential grants through the USDA or your utility. National Grid’s Agri-Business Grant, for example, is another grant vineyards can take advantage of that can cover up to $50,000 of cost. As with all incentives and grants, the funding available depends on the size system a vineyard desires.
When it comes to a residential solar application, the NYSERDA incentive and Federal Investment Tax Credit still apply, but instead of depreciation, the homeowner is eligible for the NYS Tax Credit of 25%, covering up to a maximum of $5,000.
Of course, there is the environmental benefit that goes along with a solar installation. With solar energy, wineries are cutting carbon emissions and providing a positive impact on the environment. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it serves as a fantastic marketing opportunity as well. As with many businesses today, patrons are more likely to see an environmentally conscious establishment as one they want to support.
Thanks to current incentives and competitive costs, solar is booming in New York State! It is the perfect time to find out how much you can save with solar.