Massachusetts solar rebates and tax credits calculator

Solar incentive

Federal ITC 26% (tax credit)

State tax credit: Yes ($1,000)

Net metering (by utility)

Calculate for your homes location

There can be solar tax credits and incentives available at the federal, state and local levels. The calculator above will show you the value of all incentives your home is eligible for.

Summary of Massachusetts solar incentives 2020

Massachusetts legislators have made the state one of the best places in the country to install home solar panels. Because of all the great solar incentives here, you can expect a solar payback in as little as 6 years. That rate of return significantly outpaces other investments relative to the low level of risk associated with the sun rising every morning.

On this page, you can:

  1. Learn what solar incentives are available to Massachusetts homeowners

  2. See what Massachusetts solar incentives you qualify for based on your utility company and city

  3. Find out how much these incentives and/or Massachusetts solar tax credits will reduce your cost to go solar and add batteries

Federal solar investment tax credit

The federal solar investment tax credit will have the biggest impact on the cost you will face to go solar in Massachusetts

This perk is commonly known as the ITC, short for “Investment Tax Credit”. If you install your photovoltaic system in 2020, the federal tax credit is 26% of the cost of your solar panel system. This is 26% off the entire cost of the system including equipment, labor and permitting.

Example: If your solar energy system costs $20,000, your federal solar tax credit would be $20,000 x 26% = $5,200.

The federal tax credit falls to 22% in 2021. Unless new legislation is introduced in Washington D.C., this program will be gone in 2022.

Net energy metering in Massachusetts

With net metering in some states, you get full retail rate credit for the amount of electricity you send back into the grid with your solar panels.

Net Metering requires your utility to monitor how much energy your solar power system produces and how much energy you actually consume, and make sure you get credit for the surplus.

Massachusetts has recently reaffirmed its commitment to net metering for residential solar systems, so you can rest easier knowing the state has your back.

For Massachusetts residents under Class I residential net metering rules for solar, any extra energy your panels produce is credited to your bill and carried over indefinitely.

Net metering in Massachusetts is a huge boon for you as a solar owner, and a strong policy we’d like to see enacted across the rest of the country.

Massachusetts solar rebates

Massachusetts used to have a nice, simple statewide rebate program called "The Commonwealth Solar II Rebate Program". Sadly, the program has now closed, because it was so effective that funding ran out. Luckily, some local municipal utilities have stepped in to take the place. Unfortunately, these small companies serve only a fraction of the state's population.

SMART solar program

Massachusetts has devised an ingenious progressive solar incentive system which favors low-income, small scale, and community solar energy projects. It’s called the SMART program. At the program’s core is a formula which includes a base compensation rate which decreases as your system gets larger.

For every kilowatt-hour (kwh) of solar energy you produce with your solar panel system as long as it’s 25kW or less (that’s about an 80 panel installation, way more than enough electricity for a very large household’s needs), you get paid a 230% multiple of the base compensation rate. Special compensation rate adders are available for community shared solar projects, low-income properties, and/or both!

The SMART Program requires the 3 main Electric Distribution Companies (EDCs)—Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil—to make incentive payments directly to homeowners who install solar systems within their territory. The incentive is calculated based on a "block" system, where each block represents about 200 MW of solar energy generation capacity.

Each time a block is filled (i.e. 200 MW of solar are installed), the incentive amount decreases slightly. So people who install systems in the earlier blocks get higher incentive payments than those who wait to install later.

At the current level (2020), people who install solar on their homes are eligible for a net incentive payment of about $.102/kWh for 10 years. Considering the average Massachusetts home solar system generates around 7,900 kWh per year, that's over $800 in incentive payments per year.

Low-income additions to the SMART incentive

Low income households enrolled in the program can expect an additional incentive of between 3 to 5 cents per kWh. That increases average SMART incentive payments to near $1100 every year.

The definition of low income for the program is decided by each individual utility, but in general those with a maximum income 80% below the state’s median income will likely meet such requirements, though this is not guaranteed.

Learn more: Read our post about the SMART Solar Program here.

Massachusetts state solar tax credit

Massachusetts offers a 15% tax credit off the net costs of your solar system, but only up to a maximum of $1,000 (net costs, meaning cost minus the federal 30% tax credit).

Basically, for most systems, count on $1,000 off next year's state income tax bill, on top of the big savings from the Feds.

Sales and property tax exemptions

When the Massachusetts property tax man or woman cometh to assess your new solar home, they can’t assess you another dime for 20 years -- despite the fact that you’ll be adding roughly 20 times your annual electricity bill savings to your property value. In an example 5kW solar system, that adds up to about $19,890 (20 times your annual electricity savings of $995).

In addition to the property tax exemption, you don’t pay sales tax on your system either, so the installed price is the installed price.

Cost of solar panels in your part of Massachusetts after all applicable solar incentives

Showing data for:

Prices based on a 8.5kW system, after 26% federal tax credit

Solar prices near you

Cost range of local prices

$17,804-$21,760

Payback period

3.9-4.8 years

Net profit (savings less system cost)

$81,345-$99,421

Average size system installed in MA in 2020

8.5kW

Solar panel cost calculator

Best 10 solar companies in Massachusetts

41 solar companies in Massachusetts provide pricing on SolarReviews. Here are the best rated companies near you.

Solar guides for your Massachusetts city

For more information about going solar near where you live, check out the following resources:

Find local city information

 

Useful links

Massachusetts Solar Loan Program - Low interest public funds at fixed rates for solar loans

Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)

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