Best time to ‘go solar’ could be now, but with caution

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – As solar power develops into a powerful engine driving Western New York’s economy and our everyday lives, reaping the full benefits of “going solar” can sometimes be a lot easier said than done.

With state and federal tax incentives, Nathan Rizzo vice president of Williamsville based Solar Liberty said homeowners’ only have to pay about 40% of the overall cost for a residential solar power roof installation, “So it is a beautiful time to go solar, right now.”

Then there is the savings on your utility bill for the electricity that is being generated. Rizzo explained, as the solar array cranks out electricity, it also generates credits for the homeowner.

“The homeowner produces all these credits throughout the daytime. Maybe they are at work, they come home, the sun has gone down and they start using the electricity. They are just basically using the credits that they banked throughout the day.”

John Dunkle has been trying to cash in on the solar power windfall.. but after nearly two years, and two contractors, his certification for solar power is tied up in red tape.

“I need the paper from the city that it’s okay to turn it on,” Dunkle said. They give that to National Grid, and flip the switch, I’m on.”

The holdup for Dunkle’s system that has been completely installed for weeks: in Buffalo his contractor needed a licensed electrician to sign off on his permit and it has taken all this time for that to happen, “It has been sitting at City Hall.”

Rizzo said it is important to make sure the contractor you hire to install your solar modules is familiar with your local and state regulations and make sure your roof is up to the task.

“With the snow, the rain that we receive, it is not only the permitting process that they want to be careful of, but what other warranties is the installer providing as far as protection on the roof, protection of the solar system.”

Homeowners should also keep in mind, New York’s State building and fire codes have been overhauled, and those changes will affect your solar panels, too. Panels you buy now might be illegal to install when the new codes take effect in October. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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