Guide to Massachusetts Solar

Byfield Ma Solar MorinMassachusetts has made it more affordable and more beneficial than ever to embrace a clean energy future with solar! With high solar resource, loan financing, and solar incentive programs (like SMART), Massachusetts has developed into one of the best residential solar markets in the country. 

Solar energy is the most cost-effective way for homes, businesses, and institutions in Massachusetts to lower their energy bills and lock in reliable energy costs from a proven clean energy solution: the sun.

How Does Solar Work in Massachusetts?

Residential folks in Massachusetts going solar have a few options, but the most popular is a grid-tied solar electric array.

‘Grid-tied’ means that the system will connect to the public utility grid, providing reliable backup power for when there is insufficient sun to power your home, such as at night or on cloudy days. A grid-tied system also sells excess power to the grid, so when it is sunny and your system is producing more solar power than you can use, you’ll send the power back to the public grid, powering your neighbor’s house and earning you a credit. The solar credits you earn can be used against future power consumption from the grid.

Most of the systems we design will meet close to 100% of a home’s needs in a given year. In the summer, you will tend to produce more power than you need and you will earn a credit. In the winter, you will tend to need more power than you produce and so you’ll consume those solar credits. At the end of the year, you should be at or close to zero credits in the solar bank, a situation we call ‘net zero’ (not to be confused with ‘off-grid,’ which means not using the utility grid at all!). And another thing about the winter; our climate may be cold, but cold is actually good for solar panels. In the brisk but sunny fall and spring, solar panels in Massachusetts will produce a disproportionately high amount of power, helping to make up for any power loss due to solar panels being covered in snow.

So, why go solar in Massachusetts?

There are so many reasons to transition to solar power (we explore in great detail the top ten reasons here). However, we'll keep it brief:

  1. Solar Is An Abundant Resource Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts’s solar resource is a full 33% greater than Germany, a world leader in solar. And it's not going anywhere.
  2. Solar Lowers your Energy Costs & Locks in your Electricity Rate for YearsEven with a big initial investment, going solar reduces your electric bill, saving you money for years to come and keeps you safe from spiking electric costs. 
  3. Solar Is a Strong Investment & Adds Value to Your Home or BusinessConsidering significantly reduced equipment costs and reliable performance, the average return on investment of solar energy ranges from 8% to 12% per year.
  4. Solar Does it All: Heat & Cool Your Home and be Stored for Backup PowerA lower electric bill is just the beginning. Thanks to continued innovation, solar can be stored in batteries, heat and cool your space, and even power your car.  
  5. Solar is an Environmental Solution to Humanity's Biggest ProblemArguably the most important reason for going solar: ensuring a livable future for our kids and grandkids. The costs of the climate crisis are real and daunting, and solar is the most promising technology for transitioning to a clean energy economy.

What Massachusetts Solar Incentives are available?

Massachusetts offers numerous tax credits, including a renewable energy income tax credit calculated at 15% of your solar system’s cost. It also offers two key tax exemptions for solar users: a property tax exemption on the added home value from your solar system, and a solar project sales tax exemption on the installation.

On top of state specific incentives, you can receive an additional federal tax credit of up to 30%. The recent extension of the solar federal tax credit continues to grow the value of solar for Massachusetts homeowners and businesses. 

In addition to these tax incentives, Massachusetts adopted the SMART program, arguably the most significant incentive program adopted by Massachusetts in the last few years.

What is SMART and How Does it Benefit Me?

In late 2018, the state launched the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program, which offers benefits to solar using homeowners and supports the growth of solar in Massachusetts. The program was introduced to help reach the state’s solar installation goals, and replaced the previous incentive program, Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SRECs), which was confusing and lacked sufficient support. In April 2020, the SMART program was doubled to offer higher incentives to further support the state’s renewable energy standard goal and sustain the solar industry through the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the new SMART solar program, residential solar users are paid by the state for the energy their systems produce. Eligible customers receive a check from the utility based on a fixed $$$ number paid per kilowatt-hour of solar generated, multiplied by their actual solar generation EVERY month, for 10 years. If you have solar for your business it’s 20 years! The state also provides higher incentives for lower income customers to help make solar benefits more accessible to all in Massachusetts. For more info, head to our blog post about the SMART solar program.

As part of your installation, ReVision Energy will install a revenue grade meter to provide a verifiable measurement of production for the solar array and set you up with the information you need to register with the State’s self-reporting system. This system will enable you to verify and report your solar array’s production to the New England Power Generation Information System (NEPOOL-GIS). The SMART Credits are locked in for 10 years!

Is financing available?

Yes! ReVision Energy is now able to offer solar loans for no money down, with monthly payments the same as or lower than your current electric bill. Here’s how it works: you start the process to talk about solar with ReVision Energy. We design you a system like we always have. Then, we get into a discussion of how a solar loan works and look at how to build the best loan package possible, often including complementary tech like water heaters and heat pumps, which accelerate the return of investment of solar.

Ready to get started? 

Fill out the form below to get in touch with our Solar Advisor team. We'll set up a solar site evaluation and help answer any questions about your solar journey. 

1. Your contact info *

Absolutely no obligation, no pushy salespeople, just high-quality information on whether your home or business is right for solar, and what the next steps would be.

2. Your electric bill

An essential step in designing a solar array is an evaluation of your electric needs. Uploading all pages of a recent electric bill will help jumpstart the process and lead to a more meaningful conversation when we connect with you!

3. A few more things...
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