The combination of super high electricity prices and terrific incentives make Massachusetts one of the best places to get solar panels in the U.S. right now.
In fact, from the savings Massachusetts a homeowner can get from solar, a solar installation can pay for itself in as quickly as 4 or 5 years. But the money-saving side of solar is just one of the reasons to consider getting panels.
There’s also the environmental impact of being able to power your home with clean energy from the sun.
And also, with increasingly violent weather and an aging power grid, many areas experience more frequent (and longer-lasting) power outages. By getting solar panels with a battery storage option, you can be energy independent. This means you can keep your lights (and appliances, electronics, etc.) on even if the power goes out in your area.
Oh, and solar panels also increase the value of your home and have been shown to help it sell faster if you put it on the market!
Can you see why so many MA residents are looking to go solar these days?!
Solar Panels Massachusetts: A Guide For MA Homeowners
All that said, solar does not make sense for every Massachusetts homeowner. There is a lot that goes into deciding whether solar makes sense for your home or not. There are a lot of costs and savings to calculate, along with options and incentives to consider.
Below is an overview of the current solar landscape in the Bay State. You’ll find information about costs, savings, incentives, and tax credits to help you decide if solar panels are really worth it in Massachusetts. You’ll also find a resource to help you get your personal questions about solar answered.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Massachusetts?
There are a lot of factors that go into figuring out how much solar panels will cost for your home. This is why you’ll see average costs all over the place when searching around the Internet.
Some of the key factors that go into determining what solar panels will cost for your home include:
- What are your solar goals (i.e., do you want to go completely off-grid or just reduce your electricity bill)?
- How much energy your home uses
- The number of solar panels you need / how many solar panels can fit on your roof
- Which tax incentives, rebates and/or credits you are eligible to get
- What type of solar panels you get, and how efficient they are
- Whether or not you get a battery storage system along with your solar panels
- Whether you buy or lease your panels along with the available financing options
For an average(ish) size solar installation of 5kW, you’ll see estimates for the average cost of panels in Massachusetts from around $13,000 to $25,000. Most commonly, the estimates are in the $15,000 to $17,000 range. This is before any incentives are factored in (we’ll get to those in a minute!).
If you’re looking for an idea of how much solar costs per watt in MA, that is around $3.00 – $3.15 on average. But can go from around $2.50 to $5.00.
These prices are above the national average for solar. However, with the great incentives available, what you actually end up paying can be much lower for Massachusetts residents.
Again, these are just averages. You’ll have to use a solar calculator to get a clearer picture of what solar will cost you.
Massachusetts Solar Incentives
Massachusetts currently has some of the best solar incentives in the country. It’s a big reason why solar installations are booming in the state. Here’s a summary of the incentives that are currently available…
Residential Energy Tax Credit
Massachusetts homeowners can take advantage of a state tax credit for their solar installations. This tax credit is for 15% of the cost of the solar system with a cap of $1,000. This 15% applies to the net costs of your system, so you would subtract any discounts (including the federal tax credit) when calculating your credit.
Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program
This program pays customers of Eversource, National Grid and Unitil a fixed rate per kWh for the solar energy their panels produce. When you enroll, you will be in the program for 10 years.
There is a lot of variability in how much you’ll get from this program. Much depends on where you live and who your utility company is. But, the bottom line is it could add up to a few hundred extra dollars per year in your pocket thanks to solar.
Another thing to know about this program is that it offers higher incentives for low-income customers. Also, people who install battery storage with their system get higher incentives as well. Lastly, this incentive’s amount drops over time, so early adopters get more money back than those who wait.
Net metering is one of the best financial incentives homeowners can take advantage of when it comes to solar. This is a system where your utility company pays you for any energy you send back to the grid.
So if your solar panels produce more electricity than your home needs, you can sell that back to your utility. In Massachusetts, the extra energy your panels produce will be credited to your bill and can be rolled over indefinitely. The best net metering programs right now are through Eversource and National Grid.
The net metering rules are more complex in MA than in most states and partially depend on where you live. Your best bet to understand how they’ll work for you is to talk to a local solar installer who can walk you through it for your situation.
One last note here is that net metering is still available but may not last forever. Some in the state have tried to get rid of it, but it seems to be relatively safe for now.
Sales Tax Exemption
When you buy most things in Massachusetts, there is a sales tax of 6.25%. And if you added that to the cost of your solar panels, that could add up to a good chunk of change. However, you don’t have to worry about that because solar panels are exempt from sales tax in MA. The price of panels is the price of panels. No tax will be added to your cost.
Property Tax Exemption
One of the great benefits of adding solar to your home is that it can increase the value of your home, which is awesome! Except when it comes to property taxes. Because the more your home is worth, the more taxes you’ll pay.
However, that’s not the case with solar panels. Massachusetts has a property tax exemption when it comes to solar panels. With this exemption, the increase in your home’s value due to adding panels will not cause your property taxes to go up.
Mass Solar Loan Program
Coming up with $10,000+ for solar panels is a lot of money. This is why many people look to get a loan to help cover the cost of their panels. Massachusetts had a very attractive solar loan program where you can get panels for your home by making fixed, low-interest loan payments on your system. Unfortunately, that program is no longer accepting applications.
However, some lenders from the program are still offering market-rate financing.
ConnectedSolutions is a program for those who get batteries and are either an Eversource or NationalGrid customer. Basically, if you get a battery and enroll in this program, you can allow the utility to draw power from your battery during peak times of electricity use to help them meet demand.
If you enroll, the utility will send you an email asking if you’d like to participate in a “peak demand” event (they’ll usually give you a day’s notice). It’s up to you whether you do or not. For example, if bad weather is expected and you want to ensure your batteries are fully charged, you can just say no.
However, if you are okay with the utility taking power from your battery, they’ll pay you for what they take. You’ll get $225 per kw in the summer and $50 in the winter.
You can earn hundreds to almost $2000 a year with this program, depending on your battery system size and how often you participate.
Massachusetts Solar Rebates
Massachusetts used to have the Commonwealth Solar II Rebate Program. It was a per watt rebate worth up to $10,500 for residential installations.
Sound amazing?! It was and became a very popular incentive. However, so many people took the state up on this rebate the program has run out of funding.
That said, some local municipal utility companies now offer rebates to their customers. So check with a local installer and ask if any rebates are available in your area.
Federal Solar Rebate For Massachusetts Homeowners
One more incentive to cover here. And it’s a really good one!
It’s the federal solar tax credit that is currently at 30%. That 30% is good off all the costs of getting solar panels on your roof. That means the panels themselves, the labor, any additional equipment and even batteries are included.
The tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar credit on your federal taxes. As an example, if your installation costs $15,000, that means your tax credit will add up to $4,500. If for the tax year your panels are installed, you owe $5,000 in taxes; once you take the credit into account, you’ll only owe $500.
The credit can roll over for up to 5 years if you don’t owe that much in taxes.
Are Solar Panels Worth It in Massachusetts?
There’s a lot to like about going solar in Massachusetts.
One reason is the sky-high electricity rates in the state. Massachusetts residents pay the 2nd highest rates in the country for electricity (behind Hawaii). Rates in the state are around 23.48 cents per kWh (kilowatt hour), up 10% from last year.
Another is all the incentives mentioned above.
Put those things together, and estimates show that Massachusetts homeowners can pay for their panels in electricity savings in somewhere between 4 and 7 years, on average.
If you look at the savings over a 20-year timeframe, MA homeowners can save $40,000 to over $90,000 by going solar!!
For Massachusetts homeowners who own a single-family home, have a roof that gets a decent amount of sun, and have electricity bills over $100 a month, then there’s a high chance that solar is a no-brainer!
And don’t forget about the other reasons to go solar such as increasing the value of your home, being energy independent (if you add batteries to your system) and using green energy to power your home.
All this said, however, solar may not make sense for your situation. How much electricity you use, how much sunlight your roof gets, the direction your roof faces/angle of your roof, the number of solar panels you can get and other factors all go into understanding whether solar panels make sense for your home or not.
There’s really just one way to figure out your actual upfront costs, see exactly what incentives you qualify for and how much they can save you, find out if you are eligible for $0 down solar panels, calculate how much you can save and see the financing options available to you.
And that is to get a custom solar cost and savings estimate from a trusted, local solar installer.
We encourage you to get at least one of your estimates through UnderstandSolar.com, the #1 solar advisor in the U.S. They’ve been in business since 2014 and have worked with over 400,000 to help them go solar.
They do not sell solar panels. They just help people understand their options and find exclusive local deals on solar.
Over the years, they have built relationships with the largest, most trusted solar installers in Massachusetts. So, if you get a quote through them, you know you’ll be talking with a quality company.
Getting a solar savings estimate through UndestandSolar.com takes less than a minute. Just enter your zip below, answer a few questions, and you’ll see how much you can expect to save with solar.
Why Putting Off Solar May Prove Very Costly
If you even think there’s a chance that solar could make sense for you, it’s better to act sooner rather than later. Because, right now, we look to be in an amazing window of opportunity to save that might not last much longer. This is mainly due to…
- The costs of solar panels have dropped a lot over the past 5 to 10 years. However, many experts are expecting prices to start shooting up soon. This is due to tariffs on imported panels, material shortages, supply chain issues and a huge worldwide demand for panels.
- We mentioned earlier how the Massachusetts solar rebate program already ran out of money. And the loan program isn’t taking new applications. We’re seeing this play out all across the country. As more and more people go solar, governments and solar companies are backing off on current incentives such as rebates, credits and even net metering. It’s best to take advantage of these offers while you can because they may not be around much longer!
The 26% federal tax credit will drop to 22% in 2023 and then it goes away completely. This credit can mean thousands in savings for those who take advantage of it.(This is no longer the case with the August 2022 passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, which increased the federal tax credit and extended it for 10 years.)
- The power grid only seems to be getting shakier and the extreme weather more extreme. This means that more frequent and prolonged power outages only seem more likely. For those who get solar + battery storage, you can be energy independent and ensure you have power even if there’s an outage in your area.
- The longer you hold off, the more you’ll miss out on saving money on your monthly electric bill.
With the potential to save $40,000 to $90,000 in Massachusetts, it’s at least worth getting a savings estimate to see if solar makes sense for you. Take advantage of the incentives and low prices while you can!
You might see the numbers and decide that solar really isn’t a smart choice for your situation. But, by getting an estimate, you’ll at least do that knowing you made an informed decision.
Get started here to see about exclusive local deals on solar in Massachusetts and find out if going solar makes sense for your home.