State financial incentives for solar photovoltaic systems has lead to an increase in building permits for the year, says Village of Saugerties code enforcement officer Eyal Saad. He says permits are up by about 20 percent over last year. “Many of the building permits are for the installation of solar systems, because of the state’s incentives,” says Saad.
So far this year, Saad’s office has issued 85 building permits, as contrasted to the 61 issued by this time last year. Of those, many are for solar-panel installations, and many of the rest for new roofs.
Because of the weight of some of the solar systems, homeowners are finding out that they need to either repair or reinforce their roofs before the panels can be installed, which accounts for some of the increase in the roof building permits.
“The economy is getting better, so homeowners have more money to spend on solar systems, and then you add in the incentives from the state, and you have the increase,” explained Saad.
Much of the incentives, cash and or financing for the installation of the photovoltaic systems come from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s NY-Sun program. There are also tax breaks for residential and commercial building owners that decide to go solar, according to the state.
Additional incentives are available for low-to-moderate-income homeowners who want to make the switch to solar.
A homeowner or commercial building owner must follow several steps before Saad will issue a building permit for a solar system. “They have to have an inspection from and engineer that will certify the structural integrity of the roof,” Saad said. “You don’t want to spend that money for solar panels to end up with a leaky roof.”