Founded in 1975, The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) offers innovative programs, technical expertise, and support to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

As a homeowner or renter in the state of New York, there are many reasons you should be taking advantage of these programs. NYSERDA offers over 90 programs that residents, homeowners, businesses and municipalities can enroll in that help you lower your home or business’s energy bills, reduce your environmental impact, and/or support clean energy and transportation in New York State.

Let's focus on the top five that we think you as a homeowner, resident, or automobile owner should be aware of.


Energy Audit Programs

The NYSERDA Energy Audit Program is available to homeowners, renters, and businesses who want to start saving money on their energy bills right away. Through the comprehensive list of providers, you can schedule a time to receive a FREE home energy audit appointment, where experts will give you a free, detailed analysis of your home's energy consumption and make recommendations to help you save.

Once you have your recommendations in hand - you can access the NYSERDA website and sort through their programs specifically relating to the suggested upgrades. Popular programs include. Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR®, Residential energy efficiency, Comfort Home, NY-Sun, and Air and Ground Source Heat Pumps.

Some potential energy efficiency upgrades are:

  1. 1. Insulation levels
  2. 2. Heating system efficiency
  3. 3. Domestic hot water system efficiency
  4. 4. Air sealing opportunities

Residential Financing Options

After determining the type of energy efficiency upgrades you'd like to make in your home or residence, and selecting which of the numerous NYSERDA Programs you would like to participate in - the next step is to explore NYSERDA financing options to cover the cost of the upgrades. On-Bill Recovery, Smart Energy, Renewable Energy Tax Credit Bridge, and Companion Loans from NYSERDA can all assist New York State customers to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades made through NYSERDA's initiatives.

‍With the On-Bill Recovery Loan, your monthly payments may not exceed your estimated average monthly energy cost savings. Your loan payments are built right into your utility bill so you will not have an extra bill each month. The balance can even be transferred to the new owner when the home is sold.

‍The Bridge Loan allows you access to short-term financing to borrow a portion of the renewable energy system cost that may be eligible for a federal or state tax income tax credit.

Through NYSERDA's Companion Loan, you can access additional financing for projects that exceed the $25,000 cap on the On-Bill Recovery and Smart Energy loans. 

Make sure to review NYSERDA's Loan Approval Criteria to determine which financing option you qualify for. If you have additional questions, you can contact Energy Finance Solutions, NYSERDA's loan provider at 800-361-5663.


Income-Eligible Home Assessments and Efficiency Improvements

Improving energy efficiency in your home is an investment and understanding which offered program is right for you is as simple as understanding the maximum income level allowed to qualify for each NYSERDA program.

When it comes to income eligible discounts - the higher the number of people living in your home or apartment, the higher the threshold is for qualifying.

For a one or two person household in Chautauqua County, the maximum income allowed is $50,590 annually, which qualifies you for energy efficient improvements to be 100% covered by the EmPower New York Program. See which programs you qualify for here.


Solar Options

We've talked to you before about community solar and the many benefits of being subscribed. Community solar projects are an array of solar panels installed in a sunny, offsite location. Community solar allows you benefits from solar if you can’t (or don’t want to) install panels at home. You’ll still get credits toward your electricity bill by subscribing to a local clean energy project.

While community solar is a great opportunity for those who can't install panels, residential solar installation still affords the deepest energy discounts when it comes to solar savings. The NY-Sun program makes going solar simple, with their incentives and financing options. Incentives are provided directly to participating local solar contractors in order to offset the cost of installation. If your household earns less than 80% of the median income in the area, there are additional incentives from Affordable Solar.

You can also use one of the many recommended financing options to cover the cost of your installation. Combine these with a federal income tax credit and a 25% New York State tax credit - homeowners can see the cost of a residential installation drop by almost 60%, if not more.


Drive Clean Rebate

We round out our list with the New York State Drive Clean Rebate program. This is a great option for those who have been thinking about buying a new, fuel efficient car. The Charge NY initiative offers electric car buyers the Drive Clean Rebate up to $2,000 for new car purchases or leases which can be combined with the Federal Tax Credit of up to $7,500, making it more affordable to switch to an electric vehicle. With over 60 models to choose from that qualify, there has never been a better time to consider switching to an EV.