Thanks to one of our Crown Heights members, Here Comes Solar has discovered an additional New York State tax credit that will further reduce the cost of installing solar for homes located in dozens of designated historic preservation districts scattered throughout the five boroughs (and across New York State). The Historic Homeownership Rehabilitation Credit (HHRC) covers 20% (up to a $50,000 in credits) of the cost of improvements – including solar installations! – that are completed on owner-occupied homes located within 1. historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places AND 2. income-qualified census tracts. These zones continue to form and expand, particularly in Brooklyn, and currently encompass several thousand homes in dozens of different neighborhoods, including Crown Heights, Bedford Stuyvesant, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, and Sunset Park in Brooklyn where Here Comes Solar has an active presence.
Fig. Historic Homeownership Rehabilitation Credit Eligible Zones in Sunset Park (L) and Northern Crown Heights and Bedford Stuyvesant (R), Brooklyn_Click on image to view up close (Source: NYC Cultural Resource Information System)
Here are some key details about HHRC eligibility that homeowners should know:
- To qualify, a home must be located within BOTH a nationally listed district and an income qualified census tract. A quick and easy way to figure out if your home qualifies for the HHRC is to use the NYS Cultural Resource Information System (CRIS) map. You simply plug in your address, and filter for 'National Register Building Listings' and 'Qualifying Census Tracts'. You can view our short step-by-step video above to find out how to use the CRIS tool.
- Rooftop solar systems can be installed in historic or landmarked districts as long as they are not visible from the street, and do not visibly diminish the home’s historic character.
- Homes do not need to have individual landmark status to qualify for the HHRC, but the credit is not eligible for newly constructed homes. According to the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), which administers the HHRC application and review process, buildings constructed less than 50 years ago, or that have substantially eliminated their historic character through major renovation will generally not be eligible for the credit. Homeowners are strongly advised to check in with SHPO directly to confirm if their home qualifies.
- If one's New York adjusted gross income for the tax year is $60,000 or less and the credit is more than the tax you owe, the excess credit is refundable.
- Homeowners who are eligible must fill out parts 1 and 2 of this application before the work starts in order to receive approval from the Division for Historic Preservation. Eligibility and approval will then be decided on over a 30-day period. The form for part 3 of the application is submitted after the work is completed and has been documented.
For answers to all questions related to HHRC eligibility and the application process, Interested homeowners in New York City should reach out directly to preservation specialist Daniel McEneny at the SHPO’s Community Preservation Services Bureau Preservation: E: email@example.com, T: 518 268 2162.
We strongly encourage our eligible group members to pursue this tax credit and make their solar investment even more affordable! And we now know firsthand that the credit really can work for solar: in the last month five new Here Comes Solar members in Crown Heights have been confirmed as eligible for the HHRC, and once their systems are installed, they will enjoy paybacks as short as 3 years!