Massachusetts Solar Panels: Pricing and Incentives

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Massachusetts was an early adopter of solar energy, a face which is evident when it comes to how much solar power the state is able to generate. Massachusetts is a national leader in solar power, ranking 8th in the nation. Solar power is responsible for over 18% of the state’s total electricity generated each year. Residential and commercial solar programs have contributed significantly to the state’s success, as has the adoption of community solar over the past five years. Keep reading to learn more about solar power in Massachusetts and how you can save money by installing solar panels on your home.

Massachusetts solar panel cost

The cost of a solar power system in Massachusetts depends on many factors, including the size, components, and configuration of your system. Solar system costs tend to run between $3 and $5 per watt, meaning the average 5-kW solar system has a price tag of between $15,000 and $25,000 before tax credits and rebates. The typical break-even period for a residential solar system is between six and nine years.

Why choose Massachusetts solar power?

Lower energy costs 

One of the most significant benefits of a residential solar system is that it can significantly reduce your monthly energy costs. When you have solar panels powering your home, it means you aren’t reliant on the traditional electricity grid. As a result, you aren’t paying for your energy use. This can save you hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars on electricity.

Solar panels can also have an incredible long-term return on investment, because they significantly increase the value of your home, meaning more money in your pocket if you sell your home.

Establish energy independence 

When you install solar panels on your home, you have the opportunity to reach energy independence, meaning you’re not reliant on the traditional electricity grid. When this happens, you’re no longer vulnerable to price hikes during times of high demand. It also means you don’t have to worry about power outages, since your solar panels are powering your home.

Go green

Traditional electricity generation can be harmful to the environment, as it emits greenhouse gasses. By installing solar panels, you’re reducing your home’s carbon footprint and potentially lowering your carbon emissions by about 80%.

Massachusetts solar panel incentives or rebates

There’s no doubt that solar panels come with a large price tag. The good news is that there are plenty of tax credits, rebates, and other incentives in place to reduce homeowners’ out-of-pocket costs.

First, the federal government offers a solar tax credit — meaning a dollar for dollar reduction in your tax bill — for the installation of a solar system on your home. The tax credit is 26% until 2022 and is 22% through 2023. The tax credit will expire at the start of 2024 if Congress doesn’t renew it.

Massachusetts also has some of its own incentives in place to help homeowners who wish to install solar panels. First, the state has a renewable energy income tax credit of 15%, with a maximum incentive of $1,000 back on your tax bill. The state also offers sales and property tax exemptions to ensure your solar panels don’t increase your tax burden, since adding solar can increase your property value. Finally, Massachusetts offers net metering, where homeowners can essentially sell their excess energy back to the grid for credits on their utility bills.

Should I buy or lease my solar panels?

When you decide to install solar panels on your home, you can decide between buying or renting. In the long run, buying will save you more money. First, solar panels can increase your home’s resale value by $15,000, but only if you purchase or finance them. Buying also helps you to get a better return on your investment for monthly energy savings.

While leasing solar panels isn’t the most cost-effective solution, it’s still a great way of ensuring that more families can access solar power since the upfront costs are lower. Another option for families that can’t — or don’t want to — buy their own solar panels is a shared solar program.

The history of solar power in Massachusetts

Massachusetts began exploring green energy options in the 1970s and 1980s. The state enacted tax credits and exemptions that remain in place today. The state has passed other bills throughout the years to incentivize solar energy, such as the Electricity Restructuring Act, which allows residents to self-generate through solar power. 

As of 2021, Massachusetts ranks 8th in the nation for solar energy generation. Over 18% of the state’s electricity comes from solar energy — that’s enough to power more than 545,000 homes. The industry creates nearly 10,000 jobs in the state, with an annual investment of nearly $10 billion. The state has excelled in all areas, including residential, commercial, utility, and community solar.

Important solar installation factors to consider

Solar panels can be a great investment, but there are a few things to consider before installing them on your home.

  • According to the Department of Energy, solar panels work best on south-facing roofs with slopes between 15—40%. They are also best on newer roofs that won’t need to be replaced soon, as well as roofs that aren’t covered by trees or anything else that blocks the sun.
  • Solar panels are most effective in regions with lots of sunshine. If you live in an area where it is often overcast or raining, then solar panels may not provide the ultimate financial payoff.
  • Some HOAs and other neighborhood organizations limit the use of solar panels and other renewable energy infrastructure or require approval before installation.

Solar power FAQs

How much would solar cost in Massachusetts?

Solar panels have an average cost of between $15,000 and $25,000 for a 5-kW system, but your costs may depend on factors such as the system’s size and components, as well as what tax credits and rebates you might be eligible for.

Is solar power a good investment in Massachusetts?

Solar power can be an excellent investment in Massachusetts. The state has invested heavily in solar power over the past several decades. That being said, whether it’s a good investment for you depends on many factors, including your location and energy usage habits.

How much could I save by investing in solar?

Between monthly electricity bill savings and the increase in the value of your home, you could easily save tens of thousands of dollars by installing solar panels. For example, say your monthly electric bill is around $100, or $1,200 per year. With solar panels, you could potentially save $6,000 on electricity in the first five years. 

Where can I find a good solar panel installer in Massachusetts? 

SaveOnEnergy makes it easy to connect with a solar installer in your area. Enter your information in the form on the screen, and we’ll take care of the next steps.

How does solar power help the environment?

Solar energy generation doesn’t result in the same greenhouse gas emissions that traditional electricity generation does. Therefore, you’re reducing your home’s carbon footprint and helping to combat climate change.

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