- Associated Press - Friday, June 20, 2014

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Property tax breaks for installing electricity-generating solar panels on New York City buildings would be extended under a bill passed by state legislators.

Strengthening the existing incentive program will help hasten a transition to a green economy, said Assembly member Linda Rosenthal, a Manhattan Democrat who sponsored the bill.

“Encouraging New York City residents to invest in clean, safe and renewable energy is critical if we are serious about reducing global warming emissions,” she said.

The bill is also meant to offset the higher cost of installing solar capacity in the city due to stringent regulations and the complexity of building sites. Sponsors say eligible properties include most residential homes, co-ops and condos, rental buildings and commercial and industrial properties.

The tax break is the lesser of 5 percent of the cost of the solar panel installation, property taxes the year panels are installed, or $62,500. Homeowners apply to the city finance department.

The abatement was first established in 2008, said Lauren Schuster, attorney and chief of staff to Rosenthal. It can be taken each year of a four-year compliance period, she said.

The bill, if signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, would extend the program through Jan. 1, 2017.

Since Aug. 17, 2008, state data show 1,260 solar energy systems have been installed in New York City, though it doesn’t show how many got tax breaks. Schuster said they can apply to solar panels the homeowner buys and installs or has installed through a leasing program.

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