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Solar hot water systems rewarded

The state is offering incentives to homeowners and businesses that install solar hot water heating systems.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is launching a five-year program that will provide up to $25 million in incentives to residential, commercial and non-profit customers that install solar thermal systems to heat hot water.

Solar hot water systems can cost several thousand dollars to purchase and install. The authority incentives, which are based on the amount of electricity the system is expected to save, generally will cover 15 percent to 20 percent of the installed cost. The incentives are paid directly to the eligible installer and must be passed on to the customer in full.

The incentives will be available through the end of 2015, or until the funds run out. Homeowners and businesses that install qualified solar hot water heating systems also may be eligible for state tax incentives that can cover 25 percent of the cost of systems up to $5,000. Federal tax incentives can cover up to 30 percent of the cost.

Solar thermal hot water systems typically can provide between half and 80 percent of a homeowner's hot water needs. The cost of running an electric hot water heater generally accounts for 17 percent to 20 percent of a homeowner's monthly electric bill.

e-mail: fin@buffnews.com

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