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Green Roof & Solar Panel Installation

Property Tax Abatements FAQS

Learn more about PC1 Updates and New Required Items changes.

General Information

  1. Which agency is the point of contact for questions?

    The Department of Buildings answers questions about the application process and requirements. All inquiries may be sent to the Department at greenroofandsolar@buildings.nyc.gov.

  2. What does the deadline of March 15 in the law mean?

    Applications must be submitted to the Department by March 15 for a tax abatement to be applied to the current fiscal year’s property taxes. Applications submitted after March 15 will be eligible to have the tax abatement applied to the following Fiscal Year’s taxes. (Fiscal years run July 1 to June 30.) If the Tax Abatement Application satisfies applicable State laws, City codes, etc., Buildings will approve the application and forward the approval to the Department of Finance for processing.

  3. Are there any additional processes, rules or costs required or incurred when applying for the tax abatement?

    An applicant’s professional designee must certify that the installation meets design and other requirements under all applicable laws, rules and codes. Generally, alteration applications and other requirements of the solar or green roof systems installation represent good practice and would be followed, regardless of the tax abatement application.

    State law requires that all applications for a green roof tax abatement must include an applicant agreement with a maintenance plan for the compliance period (year of abatement) plus three additional years.

    Applications for a solar tax abatement require that the eligible expenditures of the solar electric generating system are disclosed. The solar electric generating system compliance period is the tax year in which the property tax abatement commences and the three tax year immediately thereafter. (Tax years begin July 1 and end the following June 30.)

  4. Why do we need an architect or engineer to be an applicant of record?

    As per NYS title 4-B and 4-C the application for Tax Abatement must include certifications. The designated agency (Department of Buildings) requires certifications submitted by an Architect or Engineer. This Architect or Engineer should file the alteration application necessary to receive a tax abatement. Additionally, the requirement of using a NYS licensed architect or engineer is also required by §28-104.1 and §28-104.7.10 of the New York City Construction Codes. See Question #10.

Solar Tax Abatement

  1. Is the solar tax abatement taken before or after other incentive programs? In other words, which types of incentives (e.g., tax credits, tax abatements, tax exemptions, cash rebates, grants) must have the value of the incentive subtracted from the “total cost of the project?”

    Abatements are calculated with the otherwise eligible project costs AFTER interest, finance charges and grants have been subtracted from the initial total cost, but NOT after other tax-related incentives.

    Grants can include – but are not limited to – cash rebates from federal, state or local entities (e.g., NYSERDA rebates for solar PV). Grants do NOT include tax-related incentives, such as federal, state or local tax credits, tax abatements, tax exemptions or tax rebates. In other words, the value associated with tax-related incentives received does NOT need to be subtracted from the total initial cost of the project before calculating the abatement.

  2. How are interest expenses and finance charges calculated in the solar tax abatement amount?

    Interest expenses and finance charges are not permitted to be counted as part of the total project cost.

Green Roof Tax Abatement

  1. What constitutes 80% coverage of a green roof?How should applicants interpret the 80% green roof requirement?

    The Department considers the vegetation layer to mean the layer of a green roof consisting of live plants (such as sedum or equally drought-resistant and hardy plants) spaced so that they cover at least eighty (80) percent of the layer by the compliance period deadline. As part of the professional certification process, professionals must certify that this requirement will be satisfied at the end of the compliance period and for three additional years. These standards are according to generally accepted horticultural practice and certified by an architect, engineer, New York State licensed and registered landscape architect or a horticulturist with a degree or certificate from an accredited training institute.

  2. Are the application requirements the same for all green roofs?

    No. A green roof installation four inches deep or less does not require certain drawings, calculations and other construction documents to be filed with the application. However, the filing professional must: make certain technical certifications; perform a structural analysis of the existing building; and certify that it can, without modification, sustain the green roof load when saturated. The filing professional must conduct a final inspection of the installation.

  3. What is the purpose of the structural analysis?

    Green roofs or rooftop solar panels add additional load to a roof and its support system. The existing roof may not be capable of supporting an additional load. To ensure structural safety, it’s necessary to have a structural analysis verify that the roof and its support system are capable of supporting the added load without modification.

    See the New York City Construction Codes, and §28-105.4.2 of the Administrative Code for additional guidance.

  4. Where can I find the laws and the rule?

    Read the green roof and solar panel laws online.

    The New York City rule that implements Titles 4-B and 4-C of Article 4 of the Real Property Tax Law for property tax abatements: or http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/
    html/codes_and_reference_materials/rules.shtml

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