20 LONGISLANDPRESS.COM • APRIL 2021
LI SOLAR INDUSTRY HEATS UP
While Tesla’s solar shingles are still
fairly rare, solar energy has come a long
way, and has come of age on Long Island.
“Long Island leads the state on solar
arrays,” Renewable Energy Long Island
Executive Director Gordian Raacke
says. “We have high electric rates and
a lot of sunshine, both of which make
solar a good investment.”
In some ways, solar has been the victim
of its own success. There haven’t been
New York State Research and Development
Authority (NYSERDA) residential
solar rebates offered through PSEG
Long Island for simple rooftop solar on
Long Island for five years.
“The idea was to assist people adopting
solar and to kickstart the industry,”
Maskin says, noting rebates remain in
New York City. “The industry passed
the kickstart mark.”
New York State still has a 25 percent
tax credit up to $5,000 and a 26 percent
federal investment tax credit in place.
“It was a huge deal,” Maskin says of the
decision not to lower the credit for now.
“We were expecting it to go down.”
Solar energy may seem like an ancient
idea, but rooftop solar is actually a fairly
recent innovation, really starting in
the late 1990s.
“There were only a handful of grid-connected
solar electric systems on Long
Island,” Raacke says. “Today there are
more than 50,000.”
The gross cost for an average system of
about 8,000 watts, typically for $2,000
annual bills, is $22,00 to $30,000, but
credits can significantly reduce that,
There are options to finance solar
power, which typically has a return on
investment of seven years. It’s possible
to offset additional costs by paying for
the power on your electric bill through
a NYSERDA loan.
“I believe the best thing for a consumer
is to own the solar system,” Maskin
says, noting that some may prefer
leasing if they can’t take advantage of
The solar industry, unlike much construction,
was declared nonessential
during the pandemic, shutting down
from March to June. The industry has
since been ramping up amid rising
“We have people who have been home
and seen their electric bills skyrocket,”
Maskin says of a recent rise in demand.
“They work and go to school from
Many people are going solar, but
younger people are fueling the latest
surge, for economic and environmental
“We’re seeing a surge in first-time
home buyers, younger home buyers
immediately adopting solar,” he says.
“The 30- to 40-year-olds are really
Maskin added that residents’ biggest
regret with solar power typically has
less to do with the product than the
“The No. 1 conversation I have with
homeowners is, they wish they had
done it sooner,” Maskin says.
He believes solar’s future is bright,
especially amid a belief that President
Joseph Biden is pro renewables, electric
vehicles, and charging infrastructure.
Pairing solar with a battery energy
storage system to keep the lights on
during power outages is catching on,
Will Musk show the roof is the limit for
his technological revolution? For now,
Tesla’s solar shingles can be pricey,
making them a niche item, although
that could change, if prices drop.
“It’s the same person who bought the
first Tesla car,” Maskin says of residents
installing Tesla solar shingles
now. “There are people out there who
want to have the first.”
continued from page 19
Claiming the Home Office Deduction
Many people have found themselves working from
home during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re one
of them, you might wonder, “Can I claim the home
oce deduction on my 2020 tax return?”
e short answer is: Only if you’re self-employed.
Employees can no longer claim home oce expenses,
and even self-employed taxpayers must follow strict rules to claim a deduction.
If you qualify, you can deduct the “direct expenses” of the home oce. is
includes the costs of painting or repairing the home oce and depreciation
deductions for furniture and xtures used there. You can also deduct the “indirect”
expenses of maintaining the oce. is includes the allocable share of
utility costs, depreciation and insurance for your home, as well as the allocable
share of mortgage interest, real estate taxes and casualty losses.
Alternatively, you can use the simplied method for claiming the deduction —
$5 per square foot for up to 300 square feet. Although you won’t be able to
depreciate the portion of your home that’s used as an oce, you can claim mortgage
interest, property taxes and casualty losses as an itemized deduction to the
extent otherwise allowable, without needing to apportion them between
personal and business use of the home.
You can deduct your expenses if you meet any of these three tests:
1. Principal place of business.You’re entitled to home oce deductions if you
use your home oce, exclusively and regularly, as your principal place of
business. Your home oce is your principal place of business if it satises one of
two tests. You satisfy the “management or administrative activities test” if you
use your home oce for administrative or management activities of your
business, and you meet certain other requirements. You meet the “relative
importance test” if your home oce is the most important place where you
conduct business, compared with all the other locations where you conduct that
2. Meeting place.You’re entitled to home oce deductions if you use your
home oce, exclusively and regularly, to meet or deal with patients, clients or
customers. e patients, clients or customers must physically come to the oce.
3. Separate structure.You’re entitled to home oce deductions for a home
oce, used exclusively and regularly for business, that’s located in a separate
unattached structure on the same property as your home. For example, this
could be in an unattached garage, artist’s studio or workshop.
You may also be able to deduct the expenses of certain storage space for storing
inventory or product samples. If you’re in the business of selling products at
retail or wholesale, and if your home is your sole xed business location, you
can deduct home expenses allocable to space that you use to store inventory or
e amount of home oce deductions for self-employed taxpayers is subject to
various limitations. Proper planning is key to claiming the maximum deduction
for your home oce expenses. Contact us if you’d like to discuss your situation.
510 Hempstead Tpke, Suite 204
West Hempstead, NY 11552
516 489 5600 P • 516 485 4822 F
email@example.com • www.sjstax.com
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Stuart J Stein, CPA, Insurance
Agent & Notary Public