Solar wind power systems
Note: In pursuant to S.B. 07026, the expiration deadline for the eligible renewable energy projects have been extended to .
Section 487 of the New York State Real Property Tax Law provides a 15-year real property tax exemption for solar, wind energy, and farm-waste energy systems constructed in New York State. As currently effective, the law is a local option exemption, meaning that local governments are permitted decide whether or not to allow it. The exemption was mandatory prior to a 1990 reenactment in which the local option clause was added. The exemption is valid unless a government opts out of the exemption, as opposed to the more common practice of requiring governments to "opt-in" in order to offer an exemption.
As originally created, the exemption was limited to solar and wind energy systems, but in September 2002, it was expanded (S.B 6592) to include farm-waste energy systems. These are defined as systems and related equipment that generate electric energy from biogas produced by the anaerobic digestion of agricultural waste - such as livestock manure, farming waste and food processing wastes. The maximum rated system capacity for eligible farm-waste energy systems is 400 kilowatts (kW) and systems must be connected to the electric grid and operated in accordance with the state's net metering law (Public Service Law 66-j) in order to qualify. S.B. 5966A enacted in July 2006 extended the previous December 31, 2006 in-service deadline to December 31, 2010, and A.B. 10875 enacted in August 2010 extended the deadline until December 31, 2014. S.B 07062 further extended the deadline to January 1st, 2025.
The exemption applies to systems that are (a) existing or constructed prior to July 1, 1988 (mandatory), or (b) constructed subsequent to January 1, 1991, and prior to January 1, 2025 (local option). The law intends to encourage the installation of solar, wind and farm-waste energy equipment systems and to ensure property owners that their real property taxes will not increase as a result of the installation of these systems. The amount of the exemption is equal to the increase in assessed value attributable to the solar, wind or farm-waste energy system. The definition of solar includes passive solar heating systems such as mass wall and direct gain systems. In the case of solar pool heating, solar energy collection, control, and distribution equipment is eligible; however, the pool itself does not qualify as a storage medium or otherwise. The exemption applies only to general municipal and school district taxes; it cannot be applied to special assessments or special ad valorem levies.