Massachusetts Solar Guide


Now is a great time to transition to solar energy in Massachusetts! Thanks to a winning combination of federal, statewide, and municipal cost savings opportunities, the choice to go solar has become more accessible and worthwhile than ever for many Massachusetts residents. 

Solar is the antidote to energy insecurity and climate crises: your transition to sun power will help save our planet, and save you from dependence on expensive, unreliable resources. However, it can be an overwhelming challenge to keep up with constantly changing guidance on  how to go solar in Massachusetts. To help you make the transition, we’ve compiled this guide. 

Read on or navigate to the topics covered below:

  1. Solar savings in Massachusetts
  2. Massachusetts solar incentives
  3. Net-energy metering
  4. Solar for a Community Choice Aggregation town
  5. The ReVision Energy difference

Utility rates in Massachusetts are at an all-time high, and are making daily life increasingly difficult for resitdents. The reasons are ever-evolving and vary from one utility to provider to another. However, a consistent truth is that around 50% of electricity in New England — a percentage significantly greater than the national average — comes from natural gas.

Natural gas is a globally destabilized, finite resource that is neither produced by nor easily transported to our region. Accounting for a large part of the regional supply is liquified natural gas (due to ease of import from other parts of the U.S.), which carries extra costliness in its specific form. All this means constant rate hikes from the utilities that depend on this resource, which means higher electric bills for Massachusetts residents. Meanwhile, solar power is abundantlocal, and stable!

Further Reading: 10 Reasons to Go Solar →

We frequently get asked: "How much of a decrease can I expect to see in my electric bill after installing solar?"

This answer will depend on your current energy consumption habits and incorporate future proofing for additional steps you may want to take toward an all-electric household, both of which inform the size of your array. In fact, solar and related technologies are likely to increase your electricity usage while offsetting or eliminating your reliance on its unsustainable, cost-fluctuating sources. But you’ll also be producing a large fraction (if not all) of your own electricity (and heating and cooling, if you opt for an air source heat pump)!

We strive to design a system that will meet close to 100% of your home’s needs, though the capacity to do so is affected by such factors as the amount of available space for an array and the orientation of your roof. Your bill should certainly dwindle, the extent to which is a highly customized determination, and something that requires our Solar Advisors and Design Specialists to see a recent monthly bill.

Pictured below: a projection of savings for one of our recent residential projects in MA

solar savings graph for MA solar.png

Homeowners who install solar and energy efficient products are eligible for a federal tax credit set forth by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which can equate to large savings and financial advantages when transitioning to clean power. Also known as the Residential Clean Energy Credit, this benefit allows you to deduct 30% of a solar energy system’s total cost from your federal taxes, through the end of 2032.  Here are the key takeaways: 

  1. Homeowners and businesses can deduct 30% of solar installation costs from their taxes, with no cap. 
  2. Battery storage, EV chargers, heat pumps, and heat pump water heaters are also eligible for the 30% credit, with certain caps.  
  3. The credit rolls over if you don't have enough tax liability to use it all within one year. 

In the image below, we've summarized the incentives included under the IRA's Residential Clean Energy Credit most relevant to those looking to go solar in Massachusetts:

Residential Clean Energy Tax Credit Graphic.png

Further Reading: New Incentives for a Bright 2023 →

Supplementing the Residential Clean Energy tax credit, Massachusetts also offers three essential state tax benefits to solar users: a property tax exemption on the added home value from your solar system, a solar project sales tax exemption on the installation, and a personal 15% tax credit.

MA customers of Eversource can additionally benefit from the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program. Participants in this program receive a monthly payment of approximately 4 cents per kilowatt of energy produced by their solar, over a 10-year eligibility period. If your city or town is serviced by a Municipal Light Plant, you may be eligible for a one-time, per-kilowatt rebate based on the production capacity of your solar array (not dependent on how much energy your array actually produces from month to month). 

When the sun is shining, your solar system generates clean energy and powers your home in real time. Any excess energy produced will go out to the localized electric grid, where it’s used to power other homes in your neighborhood. Your utility provider will credit you for that exported energy, and you can draw upon credit to power your own home at times of low solar production. You are likely to stock up on credit during the summer months, then use it as the days get shorter and cloudier. 

If you’re a National Grid or Eversource customer with a solar system size of up to 10 kilowatts, you’ll be eligible for a special meter that measures the difference between electricity produced by your utility provider and by your solar array. This meter registers bidirectional flow of electricity, both inward from your energy supplier and outward from your home. The net result each month is used to calculate your electric bill: both National Grid and Eversource will currently credit you for the full value of kilowatt hours produced by your system. 

If your electricity is provided by a Municipal Light Plant (MLP), your eligibility for net metering and rate of reimbursement will depend on your MLP. While some MLPs offer the same 1:1 net metering as National Grid and Eversource, under the same eligibility requirements, this is not universally the case. In the case that you are ineligible for net metering or your credit rate is less than 1:1, other incentives may exist to make up for lost reimbursement. As soon as you fill out a free evaluation form, you’ll want to consult your MLP and learn more about their specific solar guidelines. 

Further Reading: What happens to Excess Solar Generation?

Yes, ReVision Energy offers solar loans for no money down, with monthly payments the same as or lower than your current electric bill. 

Our Solar Design Specialists can carefully connect you to loan options that are competitively priced, carry affordable monthly payments, and require no money down. We offer and recommend loans that can be used to finance not only your solar array but also complementary technology (i.e. heat pumps, batteries, electric vehicle chargers), replacing your current electric bill while bringing you closer with each payment to owning your own power. After designing a system to meet your needs, we’ll work with you to identify the most suitable loan package possible and accelerate your return on investment.  

Many municipalities in Massachusetts are engaged in Community Choice Aggregation, a means of replacing National Grid or Eversource as a buyer and producer of electricity in order to offer residents lower-cost options for their energy needs. There are often cost-tiered options available within this structure, to derive your electricity supply completely or substantially from renewable sources, rather than only at the state’s legal minimum. While offering great potential for savings and the opportunity to support clean energy projects, aggregation is not the most reliable or sustainable solution to the issues it addresses. Aggregated rate reductions are locked in for only three years at a time, and are likely to increase as aggregation becomes more widely adopted. In terms of not only long-term, guaranteed cost savings but also positive climate impact, there’s no match for generating your own power and contributing clean energy to the grid for decades! 

When our Solar Design Specialists illustrate your return on investment, they’ll base calculation of your utility rate today and in 25 years on what you currently pay for electricity. So, if your city or town has implemented aggregation, the community-choice tier you’ve opted into will be reflected. Your solar project’s payback period may appear significantly longer than it would if calculated with a pre-aggregation utility rate, but it’s important to keep in mind the short term of guarantee on what you pay now: more than likely, your rate in 25 years—and therefore your total solar savings—will far exceed what we are able to represent. 

Folks going solar in Massachusetts have a few options, but the most popular is a grid-tied solar electric array that ensures reliable backup power from the utility grid when there is insufficient sun available to power your home, such as at night and on cloudy days. Most of the systems we design will meet close to 100% of a home’s needs throughout a given year: in the summer, you will tend to produce more power than you need, earning credit for use in the winter, when you will likely need more power than you produce. 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!).

While we're on the topic of 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 lower power generation in the winter due to solar panels being covered in snow.

ReVision Energy is a mission-driven, employee-owned solar company, that separates itself from other solar energy providers via our 20 years of experience in the industry, our high-quality workmanship, attention to detail, and our friendly nature.

We are an employee owed company, B-corporation, and spend money not just on building our business, but on being socially and politically active in the communities where we work. In addition to investing in a solar system which lowers your grid energy use and helps the environment, you would also be supporting a company whose business model is founded upon the principles and values of putting people and the environment before profit.

Further Reading: ReVision Energy's Story →

Explore MA Solar Projects