Wednesday, November 12, 2014
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Green energy such as solar power often takes a lot of tax incentives to work. So it begs the question: is it viable long term?
SolarCity will be the largest solar manufacturer in North America. There’s a lot at stake for the both company and Buffalo.
The company plans to build a 1.2 million-square foot facility at Riverbend in South Buffalo. Solar Liberty is the largest solar installer in the state and Vice President Nathan Rizzo thinks the plant will be viable.
“I think in New York State our overall production from solar electricity is less than one percent, so there’s really unlimited potential for solar and that’s just New York State, let alone the rest of the United States or world.”
Currently there are federal subsidies, which are a major draw for SolarCity, but they’re not relying on them forever.
“Hands down, no doubt in my mind. Just to be clear in 2017 the federal tax credit goes down from 30 percent to 10 percent,” said Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity.
Rizzo said the subsidies will run out by 2023 and he expects solar-based businesses to do just fine.
“Solar as a whole, currently incentives do help but we’re working toward that goal of being self-sustainable,” said Rizzo.
Solar Liberty has already seen major growth. Since the business began 11 years ago, it’s installed 125,000 panels. Next year they plan on installing 50,000 alone.
While it’s great for the solar business, Rizzo said home and business owners should be excited, too.
“Homeowners are seeing a payback time of three to five years. That means in three years they can have paid off a system that is producing 100 percent of their electricity and they no longer have to remain connected to the utility company,” said Rizzo.
Rizzo said Erie County has the most installations or installed systems in the entire state.