Thousands of dollars in savings for climate projects create new opportunities for businesses

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- New incentives for green energy projects go into effect in January, which has created a plethora of opportunities for businesses.

Tax credits and rebates can help homeowners save thousands of dollars on energy-efficient appliances and renewable electricity. But, the up-front cost, sometimes upwards of $30,000, has always been a challenge for the industry.

"We're not sending a guy in to sit down at the kitchen table and sign a contract a half an hour later," said NY State Solar CEO Reid Garton on the WCBS Small Business Spotlight, sponsored by Dime Community Bank.

"We're going out, we're inspecting their roof, we're measuring their roof to verify how everything's going to fit. We're making sure that the roof we're putting it on is going to last for roughly the life of the solar system so they don't get halfway through and have to pull it off and put it back on."

Garton, also a board member and vice president of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association's residential solar division, said most customers finance their solar panel installation by taking out a loan and paying it back with the savings from their electric bills.

"What most of our customers do, and most in the industry, is they use one of the lenders that we're partnered with to finance the solar system so that they're reducing their utility bill by more than the solar loan costs in most cases, and then, they're applying the incentives as they receive them," he said.

Homeowners are able to claim a credit on their federal tax returns of 30 percent off improvements to home energy efficiency. The Inflation Reduction Act also established rebates for the purchase and installation of energy-efficient appliances such as air-conditioners, dryers, electric induction stoves and electric heat pumps. One of the largest federal incentives runs through 2034.

That has paved the way for businesses to pivot into installing solar panels, high-efficiency windows and high-efficiency modern heat pumps.

"Solar's not the only thing that we need to do to modernize the grid and clean it up and help the environment," said Garton. "We also need to consume less and energy efficiency is a very, very important element of that happening."

The White House created a website where you can figure out what home improvement projects will qualify for tax credits and rebates.

There are also resources available through the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, which you can find here.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Nicole Varone/NY State Solar