LIPA Restarting Solar Energy Cash Rebates

The Long Island Power Authority made its residential solar cash rebates available again as of Wednesday.

These rebates are at the $1.75 per watt level, or up to $17,500 for a 10 kilowatt home solar electricity system.

Solar contractors can prepare homeowners’ LIPA solar applications to take advantage of the new round of rebates.

Funding for the LIPA Solar Pioneer program had been suspended on Oct. 1 when the last batch of cash rebates totaling $1.75 million were fully subscribed by customers in contract with solar energy companies in just 11 minutes.

LIPA had previously announced that it would not restart the program again until its budget year began in January, but $8.3 million in federal stimulus funds came through to enable LIPA to open the program as of Dec. 1.

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When rebates ran dry so quickly in October, Long Island Solar Energy Industry Association said high demand for the LIPA solar incentives was “testimony to the increasing public awareness that solar energy is a good investment and good for the environment.” LISEIA is the area’s industry trade association.

Recognizing the strain the wait was putting on the local solar energy industry, LIPA made the request to New York State for funding earlier this month. The governor made the announcement last Tuesday that $8.3 million in federal stimulus funds from the U.S. Department of Energy would be earmarked to LIPAs residential Solar Pioneer program. LIPA announced the next day that the utility would begin accepting applications Dec. 1.

As a result solar energy companies are now hurrying to help their customers fill out the rebate applications, sign contracts for solar-electricity installations, and complete the other required documents to submit them to LIPA in hopes that their customers will benefit from this new batch of rebates.

Once a solar contractor submits the application package to LIPA on behalf of a homeowner, it takes several weeks for the utility to process the documents and to issue a rebate award letter. When the homeowner receives the LIPA rebate letter, then the solar energy contractor is greenlighted to apply for permits, and to design and customize the system engineering drawings enabling installation of rooftop photovoltaic (PV) solar panels connected to inverters. The utility grid-tied PV system then seamlessly converts the light from the sun into regular household electric current, the production of which LIPA then credits to the homeowner.

Source: Port Jefferson Patch

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