Did you know that a rooftop solar system can save you up to $30,000 over its lifetime? Thanks to a combination of state and federal incentives, a variety of ownership and financing options, and decreasing prices, solar can be an affordable and smart investment in Massachusetts.
While the cost-effectiveness of installing solar is site specific, depending on factors such as your home’s sun exposure and your energy costs, with incentives, financing options, and a good price, it just might be the right solution for you.
Massachusetts is known as a national leader in solar energy and provides a good regulatory and incentive climate for solar energy. In Massachusetts people who install solar PV on their properties can realize long term economic benefits and help to offset some of the upfront costs using the following programs:
- A taxpayer may claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for installing solar PV on their property with the Federal Residential or Business Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit.
- Through the Massachusetts Residential Renewable Energy Income Tax Credit – residents can receive a credit on their state income taxes for the lesser of 15% of the total cost of the PV system or $1,000.
- The Massachusetts the Renewable Energy Property Tax Exemption allows businesses and homeowners to exclude the added value of a solar system from the valuation of their property for taxation purposes.
- Solar equipment is exempt from the state sales tax through the Renewable Energy Equipment Sales Tax Exemption.
- Massachusetts’s net metering laws allow customers to offset their electricity usage with power they generate from solar.
- Solar PV owners can generate income from the sale of Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SRECs) which the utilities are required to purchase each year.
Residents and businesses looking to install solar PV can chose from a variety of ownership and financing options including the following:
- For those who can swing it, a cash purchase will probably provide the greatest return on investment over the lifetime of the system and the payback period could be as short as 4 years.
- Financing with a solar loan is another good option that allows customers to benefit from the incentives without paying any upfront costs however, just like any financing plan, there is a premium paid for paying back the costs over time.
Third party ownership options such as a Power Purchase Agreement or a Solar Lease can offer immediate savings with low or no money down, however the overall lifetime savings for the customer will be reduced as the incentives go to the third-party lessor. Also these agreements usually require good site conditions, a good credit score, and a commitment to a 20 year contract.
Solar Connect ends August 31st
There’s still time to take advantage of Mass Energy’s solar campaign, Mass Solar Connect!
1 MW of Solar in Massachusetts will produce about 1,300 MWh of electricity per year (PVwatts). That avoids an estimated 988 tons of CO2 emissions per year, which is the amount that 735 acres of forest would sequester each year, and is equivalent to taking 189 cars off the road (EPA).
Mass Energy is helping to make solar even more affordable through Mass Solar Connect, a partnership between Mass Energy, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and Direct Energy Solar that harnesses the purchasing power of many to drive down the cost of solar panels for each participant. Contracts signed through this program will be eligible for a special price starting as low as $3.35 per Watt on the direct purchase of your own panels. That’s about 25% below market price. The program also offers competitive financing and leasing options.
Installer Direct Energy Solar (formerly Astrum Solar) has been a trusted partner in numerous Solarize Mass programs and has installed 1500 systems in Massachusetts and many more across the region.
The program is proving to be quite popular, since its launch in March, 1200 (and counting) people have requested site assessments and over 150 contracts have been signed. Thanks to Mass Energy members and affiliates, we have brought more than 1MW of solar energy online since March!
Mass Energy’s goal is to have 200 properties go solar through Mass Solar Connect by August 31, 2015, the date the program closes. If that goal is reached, Direct Energy will donate $25K to put toward a solar installation for a non-profit or low-income home.
Your first step to participate is to request a no-cost roof assessment with the program installer.Or if you just want to learn more, visit www.masssolarconnect.org or contact Clean Energy Program Director, Eugenia Gibbons Eugenia@masseneryg.org or 617-524-3950 x141.