* 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 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.
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.
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Prices based on a 6.2kW system, after 26% federal tax credit
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.
(forecast avg Massachusetts electric rates over the next 25 years)
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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
Eligibility: Federal incentive
Type: Personal Tax Credit
Eligibility: State incentive
Type: Rebate Program
(After tax credit)
(After tax credit)
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.
Minimum of 25 years but generally 30 or more
Solar panels power your house when they can but your home uses the utility company for power at other times. In 2021 "solar systems with battery storage" are becoming more popular. These are known as hybrid systems.
A grid-tied system is the most common type of solar system. It has no solar battery for backup power and utilizes net metering to maximize savings. Solar panels are mounted on your roof then wired together, and the power generated flows into an inverter where direct current (DC) electricity is converted into alternating current (AC) electricity. This electricity is either used by your home or is exported to the utility grid.
In hybrid solar systems, rooftop solar panels are connected to both a solar battery and the electric grid. The solar electricity generated by your panels that your home does not use is stored in the battery instead of being sent to the grid, which 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.
Off-grid solar systems are not connected to the grid at all, so all of your energy needs must be met by the sun. There is no utility to fall back on. The solar installation needs to power your home not only during the day, but after dark as well, so many solar panels and a large battery system are required. These systems are often expensive and don’t make sense for homes that have access to the grid.
Read more about types of home solar systems.
No, but cleaning them can improve power generation if they are dirty.
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 2021.
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.
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.
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.