Solar panels Massachusetts:

Prices, incentives and best companies 2020

Avg MA solar panel cost:

$10,732 - $13,117*

Avg 25 year savings:

$68,073 - $83,201

Avg payback period:

3 - 3.7 years

Estimate cost and savings based on your location and power usage

* Cost data based on quotes for fully-installed solar panel systems submitted on our platform. Prices are shown after applying the 26% federal tax credit.

Massachusetts solar panels guide 2020

Updated November 3, 2020

Massachusetts is one of the best places in the nation to install solar panels. With a combination of expensive utility rates, solar tax credit, and the new SMART program, homeowners can get an excellent return on investment by installing residential solar panels in The Bay State

Although Massachusetts has fewer daily sun hours compared to other parts of the country, the state’s high utility power costs make solar a great investment for the home.

On this page:

Solar power prices, savings and payback in your part of Massachusetts

The average cost for an installed residential solar system in Massachusetts is currently $12,756 after claiming the 26% federal solar tax credit. This is $2.87 per watt. However, there is some variance in solar prices in different parts of the state. The graph below shows the average cost of installed solar systems in your part of the state.

Showing data for:

Prices based on a 6.2kW system, after 26% federal tax credit

Cost range of local prices

$10,732-$13,117

Net profit (savings less system cost)

$68,073-$83,201

Payback period

3-3.7 years

Recommended size for the selected utility bill

6.2kW

Solar panel cost calculator

Cash flow graph based on cash purchase of a 6.2kW system

Are solar panels worth it in Massachusetts

Solar panels have fallen in price by more than 80% in the last ten years. In 2020 they also remain subsidized by the 26% federal tax credit and the net metering law, making them an excellent investment. They offer a return well above the long term average return from both the share market and also property investment.

Another way to look at this question is the levelized amount you will pay for each kWh of power you will use over the next 25 years with and without solar panels. As you can see below the savings are significant.

Levelized cost of solar energy
?
Levelized cost per kWh is the cost of the solar system divided by the total number of kWh produced by a solar system over it’s lifetime

7¢ /kWh

If you don't get solar

55¢ /kWh

(forecast avg Massachusetts electric rates over the next 25 years)

MA solar panel cost calculator

Massachusetts solar incentives & tax credits

Federal solar tax credit

The most significant incentive to install solar panels for homes and businesses in Massachusetts is the federal solar tax credit. At the end of 2020, the amount of the credit will decrease from 26% to 22% of the cost of the solar installation. 

Because home and business owners want to get the largest incentive amount possible, solar panel installation companies will likely be flooded with new projects before year’s end. In order to maximize your savings potential, the best time to go solar in Massachusetts is now.

 

Massachusetts state tax credit

Massachusetts offers a state solar tax credit. This means you can earn an extra $1,000 to put towards your taxes - on top of the federal solar tax credit.

 

Net metering

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 benefit for you as a solar owner, and a strong policy we’d like to see enacted across the rest of the country.

 

Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program

In 2018, Massachusetts replaced the state’s solar renewable energy credit (REC) program with the SMART program. Through the program, your utility pays you a flat base rate per kilowatt-hour of solar electricity your system produces for 10 years. 

In return, your utility retains ownership of all RECs your solar system produces. The base rate you receive depends on your utility and when you apply to the program. The sooner you apply, the higher the base rate you will qualify for. 

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.

 

Massachusetts property tax exemption

Normally, installing a solar system on a property would increase property taxes. However, thanks to the Renewable Energy Tax Exemption, 100% of the assessed value of a solar system is excluded from property taxes. This has the potential to save you a lot of money!

 

Massachusetts sales tax exemption 

Massachusetts also offers a sales tax exemption for solar energy equipment. This means the state sales and use tax will not be added onto purchases associated with solar photovoltaic systems. 

Table 2: Available incentive programs
Eligibility: Federal incentive
Type: Personal Tax Credit
Eligibility: State incentive
Type: Rebate Program

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Top models of solar panel installed in Massachusetts 2020

Average cost of solar panel installation in Massachusetts by system size

System size*
Cash purchase

(After tax credit)

Financed purchase

(After tax credit)

4kW $12,572 $13,452
5kW $15,040 $16,093
6kW $17,238 $18,445
7kW $19,922 $21,317
8kW $23,200 $24,824
9kW $25,047 $26,800
10kW $27,560 $29,489

Find city information in Massachusetts

 

Best solar companies in the main cities of Massachusetts

Solar Companies in Boston

Different types of solar companies

Solar company reviews

Home solar basics

Is it better to lease or buy solar panels in Massachusetts

You will save most money by buying your solar system rather than leasing it. Read more about the pros and cons of leasing vs buying solar.

How long do solar panels last?

Minimum of 25 years but generally 30 or more

How do solar panels work on a home?

Solar panels power your house when they can but your home uses the utility company for power at other times. In 2020 "solar systems with battery storage" are becoming more popular. These are known as hybrid systems.

How do solar panels work?

Grid-tied solar system

Solar panels are mounted on your roof and wired together in groups called solar arrays. The power they generate flows into a solar inverter, where the direct current (DC) is converted into alternating current (AC). The electricity is then either used by your home or exported to the electric grid.

Off-grid solar system

Off-grid solar power involves meeting all your energy needs from the sun; there’s no utility to fall back on. The solar installation needs to power your home not just during the day, when the sun is shining, but after dark as well. This requires many solar panels, paired with a large battery system.

Hybrid solar system

In hybrid solar systems, rooftop solar panels are connected to both a solar battery and the electric grid. This reduces your reliance on the utility while also providing backup power when needed. Battery storage is still expensive but you may be able to reduce costs by using state incentives.

Read more about types of home solar systems.

Do solar panels require regular maintenance?

No, but cleaning them can improve power generation if they are dirty.

Will residential solar power system cost fall in Massachusetts in 2020?

Given this environment, and the effect of import tariffs placed on solar panels by the Trump administration during 2018, it is hard to see that solar power system prices in Massachusetts will fall during 2020.

How much electricity do solar panel systems generate in Massachusetts?

Depending on the location, solar panels will generate different amounts of electricity.

A solar system that is installed on a south-facing 27-degree pitch roof Massachusetts will generate 1,150kWh of peak DC (direct current) capacity per year per 1kW in the Boston area.

Enter your details into the solar panel calculator to see how your location, roof tilt, and roof direction impacts solar panel production.

What are the pros and cons of installing solar panels in Massachusetts?

Some of the advantages of installing solar panels in Massachusetts include state incentives, the federal tax credit, and the expensive power rates. Higher power rates mean the overall return on investment for an installation of residential solar panels in Massachusetts is the best in the nation.

What's the downside of installing solar panels in Massachusetts? There is a lower level of emitted solar irradiance. As a result, solar systems in the state produce less energy than they could if stationed in other areas. However, the local incentives more than make up for this.

If you’re a Massachusetts homeowner, you’ll be kicking yourself that you didn’t install solar panels while these generous incentives were still around.

Enter your details to calculate the cost and savings you are likely to get from installing solar panels for your home.

What you can learn from our state solar panel calculator

This solar calculator requires you to input your address, utility company, your average monthly power spend - it tells you:

If you want to see all of the above but also see live pricing, the three best solar deals available in your city and get binding quotes from each of these solar companies then use this Massachusetts solar panels calculator. This calculator requires you to also input your name and contact details because most of our 200+ installer partners will only authorize the sharing of their live solar pricing where we have validated that you are a real homeowner with a home in their service area. We respect the privacy of your data and only share your contact details with the solar companies you ask us to get binding quotes from.

Note: Please keep in mind that the best source of up-to-date information on incentives are the solar installers who specialize in your area.

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