The Energy Consumer's Bulletin- a New England energy news blog

This online solar comparison platform is what you’ve been looking for: Mass Solar Connect is back

Posted by Loie Hayes on Thursday, June 08, 2017 @ 10:14 AM

Solar connect is back.png

Mass Solar Connect is going to simplify your solar shopping. This statewide initiative, directed by the Mass Clean Energy Center (Mass CEC), pairs Mass Energy’s strong social network with the rich on-line resources of our new partner, EnergySage. (Note: Rhode Island readers can also use EnergySage, but do not have access to the Mass Solar Connect program).

Explore your solar options

What's new about Mass Solar Connect?

If you know Mass Energy/PP&L, you know we’re always imploring you to get at least three bids on any energy-related home improvement you plan to make. And that’s why we like EnergySage, who is administering the Mass Solar Connect online platform. Their mission is to make going solar as easy as booking a flight online. Through their Mass Solar Connect marketplace, you can get easy-to-compare quotes from up to 7 solar installers who have been pre-screened by Mass CEC. Your contact info is kept private while gathering standardized quotes for you.

This approach gives you a simple apples-to-apples comparison of different installers’ recommendations for your home, and the installers won’t contact you directly until you’re ready to share your contact info with them.

EnergySage standardizes the information offered by each installer, such as the assumptions about cost of electricity over the course of the contract. Such assumptions and metrics might vary highly from one installer to another when approached individually, making it difficult to make an informed decision. This standardization alone makes the Mass Solar Connect experience highly valuable.

But one of the things we like most about EnergySage is the unbiased advice you can get from their Solar Advisors. These are professionals with no stake in preferring one installer over another, and they’ve helped many people compare quotes. They will help you through the Mass Solar Connect process.

It’s still a good time to go solar in Massachusetts

It’s been good to go solar in Massachusetts for many years now. In fact, we were just assessed as the friendliest state to solar by Solar Rocks. Our state policy has allowed for three important funding factors to keep solar sales up, and a fourth bonus:

  • Solar-Panel-Install.jpgMass Solar Loan. We are so fortunate to have this program designed to make solar ownership as easy to get into as a power purchase agreement, otherwise known as a lease or no-money-down option. It caps the interest rate for participating lenders, offers principle buy-downs for income-eligible households, and even offers credit assistance for families with lower credit scores.
  • Net-metering, or selling the solar power you don’t use back to the grid. Although the net-metering payout price has changed, the residential net-metering cap continues to be high enough for new projects to participate, and the practice is a crucial source of funding.
  • SRECs. The sale of SRECs continues to a viable option. Although this means you can’t claim you are solar powerered while you sell your RECs, it will help you finance the system faster and eventually you can decide to keep the RECs.
  • Here’s the bonus: as a result of robust state investment in driving the solar market, cost of installation is down. The cost of installing solar continues to decline and payback periods are shrinking fast. One of the recent local case studies recorded on EnergySage’s extensive website shows a payback period of just over 4 years!

Even with all these great factors, we’ll do you one better. Now is the best time to install solar panels because Mass Solar Connect is back. Through Mass Solar Connect, you can compare quotes online, allowing you to save even more (10-20%!).

Studies prove that comparing quotes saves money

An independent study from National Renewable Energy Lab shows that getting multiple quotes from a vendor-neutral aggregator, such as EnergySage, rather than contacting solar installers individually, yields significant savings driven by competition. Installers sharpen their pencils when they know you’ll be looking at their quotes alongside others gathered by EnergySage.

Mass Solar Connect aims to save you 10 – 20% by allowing you to get transparent side-by-side quotes from a range of different size installers, instead of simply relying on whatever information reaches you from the solar companies with the biggest marketing budgets. That’s like saving $1,000 - $2,000 off a system that might otherwise have a gross cost of $10,000.

EnergySage offers a quick way to calculate your potential savings from a solar system with its Solar Calculator, as well as a “True Cost of Solar Guide” tailored to each state (here is Rhode Island’s). Here’s a rough example it offers for the true cost of a larger system, one appropriate for a family that’s currently averaging about $100/month in electricity cost:

If the gross cost of the system is $30,000, your federal and state tax credits will cover up to $10,000. Then you can assume about $1,200 in electric bill savings and $1,500 in SREC sales. This would bring your payback period down to 7.5 years. Since solar systems are generally expected to be productive for 20 years, that would yield 12.5 years of free electricity or $15,000 in bill savings.

Solar payback.png

EnergySage also offers comparisons of financing options too, including Mass Solar Loan.

We’re extremely proud that Mass CEC has once again selected us to help you go solar faster through Mass Solar Connect. During the 2015 round of Mass Solar Connect, we helped 261 homes went solar, making it one of the most successful solar programs in Massachusetts to date! We expect 2017 will be even more successful.

Ready to explore solar? Go to to learn more.

Explore your solar options

Tags: Renewable energy

Comments on this post: