Thanks to an abundant solar resource and great state policies, Massachusetts is one of the best solar markets in the country. Solar energy is the most cost-effective way for homes, businesses, and institutions in Massachusetts to get control over their energy bills and lock in a reliable cost of energy from a proven solution: the sun.
How Solar Power Works in Massachusetts
It may not seem like it in the midst of a winter storm, but Massachusetts’s latitude is almost identical to sunny places like Marseille, on the French Riviera. We benefit from a powerful solar resource that is equal to Houston, TX and just 10% less than Florida’s annual sunshine.
Solar panels harvest this local renewable solar resource and turn it into electrical energy that can be used in your home. The solar panels are connected to your home, and to the electric grid, making it a grid-tied solar array.
When the sun is out, a grid-tied solar array will produce as much electricity as the panels possibly can. The solar electricity is used first to power your house (running household electric loads – fridge, washer/dryer, etc – and heating/cooling equipment).
Since the solar panels are still connected to the grid, your home retains seamless backup for whenever the solar panels are not able to keep up with the real-time electric load, primarily at night or during periods of inclement weather.
Visit Mass CEC for more info on solar electricity.
How Much Does it Cost?
Solar pays for its installation cost in roughly 5 years, and will continue producing free power for decades more. Solar power equipment is warrantied for 25 years, and expected total life span is up to 40+ years.
Incentives to Go Solar in Massachusetts
A variety of federal and state incentives are available, making it financially attractive to invest in a solar electricity array.
- 30% Federal Tax Credit on total installed price of system (and also for qualifying battery systems, when installed in tandem with solar).
- MA renewable income offer. Under this credit, the owner of renewable energy systems get a 15% coverage of the system cost against his or her MA income tax with a $1000 maximum credit amount.
- Net metering – a Credit on your electric bill compensating you for electricity output to the grid.
- SRECs or SMART – Additional incentive for the ‘clean’ power generated by a PV array.
- If you go solar as part of Solarize Lowell, a group buying discount will apply as more people sign up!
Net Metering – A two-way flow with the grid
Your grid-connected system is connected to the utility grid through a net meter, and when you go solar, you establish a bi-directional relationship with the grid called net metering.
Net meters can spin backwards and forwards, depending on whether electricity is being pulled from or sent to the utility grid. Over the course of a month, a net meter will measure the amount of electricity consumed and generated on site to determine if you will receive a credit or a bill from the utility.
Thanks to the credits you generate when you have excess solar power, your electric bill will be reduced by the amount of credits you have on your account. Think of the utility like a gigantic battery for your solar panels!
What are SRECs and SMART?
In addition to the benefit of net metering, the state of Massachusetts offers incentive programs for solar that reward you for the clean energy properties of your exported solar electricity.
Among the incentives available, Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) are the current production based incentive, soon to be replaced by a new production-based incentive called Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART).
The SMART program is projected to begin before the end of the Solarize Lowell campaign, and ReVision Energy will help those going solar navigate and understand this program and other incentives.
- Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program
- Solar Carve-Out II (SREC II) Statement of Qualification Application
Is there financing available?
Yes! Our installation partner, ReVision Energy, offers an “Own Your Power” loan program which allows you to trade your electric bill for a payment on a solar array, with monthly payments the same as or lower than your current electric bill.
We can also walk you through options for financing solar plus heat pumps through state programs like the Mass Solar loan program.
Now for some fun… Solar is Wicked Good!
Can I Heat with Solar?
Yes! If you heat your home with electricity, you can power it with solar. The best way to heat a home using electricity is with heat pumps (also called a ‘mini-split’).
Heat pumps can extract heat from the outside air even at extremely low temperatures (-17F) and move this heat into your home through a reverse refrigeration cycle (imagine if you took a window air conditioner and flipped it around). Because they extract heat from the air rather than directly heating indoor air, they operate 2-3x more efficiently than electric baseboard heaters.
In the summertime, the system runs in reverse, extracting heat from your home and moving it outside, cooling your home at a rate 2x more efficient than window air conditioners.
Solar PLUS Heat pumps is the way to go!
What are you waiting for? Get started and go solar with your neighbors!