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Solar panels in Massachusetts
Massachusetts is one of the top 15 solar-producing states in the country. Investing in Massachusetts solar can help reduce your reliance on the power grid since you’ll produce your own energy. You can also contribute to the growth of clean energy sources across the economy and help reduce carbon emissions.
Massachusetts has invested $9.6 billion toward solar, and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) predicts it will increase its installations by 43% in the next five years. The state has several incentives to grow its solar industry, including the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program, which encourages residents to switch to solar power.
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Cost of solar panels in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, an average solar panel system size is 6 kilowatts (kW) and costs $4.06 per watt, according to Find Energy. However, these prices can vary depending on location. For example, solar panel installations may be more expensive if you are in a metro area such as Boston.
A residential solar panel system in the state will typically cost $24,360 (before tax credits and other incentive programs), but this upfront cost shouldn’t be an unattainable hurdle. You can consider several options to pay for solar installations, including financing, leasing solar panels, or signing up for a solar power purchase agreement (PPA).
Each Massachusetts home has different energy consumption patterns, roof sizes, and other factors influencing how large of a solar system you might need. The following table outlines a range of solar array sizes and costs at the state’s price per watt of $4.06.
|System size||Total cost|
Solar incentives and rebates in Massachusetts
Federal and state solar incentives can help you significantly cut the cost of purchasing your own panels in Massachusetts. There are several financial perks available to people who purchase solar panels.
|State tax credit||Massachusetts provides a 15% state solar tax credit for purchasing a solar system. The credit has a maximum of $1,000. Residents can claim the credit on their income taxes and carry it over for up to three years.|
|Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART)||The SMART program pays solar owners a small amount for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of power they produce with their solar panels.|
|Tax exemptions||Massachusetts offers a property tax exemption preventing residents from paying more taxes for increasing their home value with solar. The state also has a sales tax exemption, so you won’t have to pay sales tax on your panel purchase.|
|Residential Clean Energy Credit||This federal program provides a 30% tax credit to homeowners who install solar panels on their primary or secondary residences. At its current rate, the solar panel tax credit is available through 2032, before dropping to 26% in 2033, 22% in 2034, and expiring in 2035. However, Congress can renew the credit before its expiration date.|
Solar panel setup
Solar panel systems consist of several key components. Here’s what equipment you’ll need for your system to function efficiently.
- Solar panels: Solar panels consist of solar cells that absorb sunlight to convert into electricity for your home. You can choose monocrystalline, polycrystalline, or thin film panels — all of which have different wattages and dimensions. You can purchase your solar panels outright or lease them from a solar company.
- Solar panel inverter: Inverters convert the direct current (DC) electricity collected by your solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity so you can use it in your home.
- Solar battery backup system: While not required, a solar battery helps you save extra solar power to use during an outage or store and sell back to the grid.
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Solar energy in Massachusetts may help lower your electric bills
Massachusetts electricity rates currently average around $193.04 per month, making it one of the most expensive states for energy. You can calculate your potential savings from solar panels by estimating your annual electric bills and installation cost.
Based on the state’s average monthly bill, the annual cost of electricity is around $2,316 for a typical Massachusetts household. If your solar panel system costs $24,360 at the outset, you would earn the full return on your investment (ROI) in about seven years. Over a period of 25–30 years, the typical lifetime of solar panels, you could save thousands in energy expenses.
On top of the long-term energy bill savings, installing solar panels also boosts your property’s resale value by an average of $15,000, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Energy independence in Massachusetts
Increasing your energy independence in Massachusetts reduces your reliance on the state’s power grid for your energy needs. If large winter storms cause a power outage, a home with conventional power may wait hours or days for electricity. However, homes with solar panels and battery backup systems can manage their electricity requirements for several hours and may experience less power loss.
In addition to gaining control over your energy consumption, switching to solar also gives you more predictable energy expenses. You’ll be less likely to deal with sharp price swings each month when energy rates change. As a result, you can stick to a monthly budget more easily.
How to buy solar panels in Massachusetts
Solar panels are an established energy source in Massachusetts, but there is no doubt that they are a substantial investment. If you’ve been considering solar panels for your home, there are a few steps to think through first.
- HOA rules: Does your homeowner’s association (HOA) have any special considerations, such as how visible the solar panels can be from the road? You will likely need to register your panels with your HOA or check what restrictions it might have prior to installation. A licensed solar installer can help you work through these rules and install your system while following local guidelines.
- Roof condition: Solar panels function most efficiently on a roof in good condition with a slope of 15–40 degrees. If your roof needs a replacement, you should repair it before installing solar panels. Any necessary roof work will add to your total installation cost.
- Amount of sunlight: How much direct sunlight does your home receive, and are there any natural barriers, such as large trees, that could impact your home’s solar production? Ideally, your solar panels should have no obstructions from sunlight so they can generate as much electricity as possible.
Ready to take the next step in your solar journey? Call the phone number on your screen to learn more about solar in Massachusetts.
How should I pay for my solar panels?
Solar is a large financial investment, making it important to budget before signing a contract. While purchasing solar up front ensures the highest return on investment of any option, not all homeowners can afford to do so. Massachusetts residents can choose to enter a solar loan, lease, or power purchase agreement instead. The following table highlights the pros and cons of each financing method.
|Cash purchase||Largest amount of savings over time, solar system ownership, eligible for incentives, electricity bill savings||High upfront cost|
|Solar loan||Solar system ownership, eligible for incentives, electricity bill savings||Monthly payments, interest fees|
|Solar lease||Avoid upfront costs, little to no maintenance, electricity bill savings||No ownership, ineligible for incentives, potential rate increases|
|Power purchase agreement||Avoid upfront costs, little to no maintenance, electricity bill savings||No ownership, ineligible for incentives, potential rate increases|
|Community solar||No upfront costs, power home with clean energy, electricity bill savings||No ownership|
Solar panel companies
Over 500 solar panel companies operate in Massachusetts, making research all the more important when selecting a quality installer. Choose Energy’s experts can help you navigate this decision. Call the number on your screen to learn more about your solar options. The following table highlights some of the most popular Massachusetts solar installers and can help provide a starting place for your search.
|Solar installer||Year founded||Financing options||Warranty terms|
|ADT Solar||2011||Cash purchase or solar loan||25-year manufacturer warranty and production guarantee|
|Primitive Power||2018||Cash purchase or solar loan||30-year performance warranty, 25-year panel warranty, and 25-year quality guarantee|
|Momentum Solar||2009||Cash purchase, solar loan, or lease||25-year quality of work and 25-year product warranties|
|SunPower Solar||1985||Cash purchase, solar loan, or lease||25-year full system warranty|
The future of energy is solar in Massachusetts
Renewable energy uses replenishable energy resources. Non-renewables, like fossil fuels, could become more expensive as we tap the existing resources over time because they are finite. Solar power from the sun, on the other hand, is with us forever.
Green energy is not the same as renewable energy, although many use these terms interchangeably. Green energy emphasizes the lack of pollutants and extra carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere. Solar energy is green energy because it is a virtually emissions-free energy source. Solar power qualifies as both renewable and green, making it an ideal choice for people who want to support the clean energy transition.
Massachusetts has already realized how much potential exists in solar energy. More than 20% of the state’s power comes from solar. You can join in on the benefits of solar in Massachusetts by adding solar panels to your home.
Solar energy FAQs
Do solar panels save you money in Massachusetts?
By installing solar, you can save money right away on energy costs. Once you pass your payback period on your panels, you’ll start noticing the savings come in even faster. The payback period for an average Massachusetts solar system is about seven years.
What is the life expectancy of solar panels in Massachusetts?
The best solar panels in 2023 should last 25–30 years in Massachusetts. After paying off your system in an average of seven years, you can expect to benefit from well over a decade of energy savings from your solar panels.
How does solar power help the environment?
Solar panels don’t emit carbon dioxide or other pollutants that lead to climate change. This sets solar apart from natural gas and coal, which release greenhouse gases in the atmosphere when burned to generate power.
Is it better to buy or lease solar panels?
Buying your panels means you’ll be eligible for tax credits and incentives (as long as you meet the other criteria). It also helps you see more long-term financial savings and adds value to your home. However, leasing is still a good way to enjoy the benefits of solar energy without the upfront costs.