In 2022, Massachusetts produced over 19% of its electricity using solar energy. This is enough power to support 715,000 homes in the Bay State. With huge legislative support, homeowners have an opportunity to save as much as $25,000 or more with solar panels in Massachusetts.
You might be wondering how to accomplish this. In this article, we cover everything you need to know, from average costs to potential savings. Whether you want to save money or save the planet, here’s how you can afford to make the switch.
Average Cost of Solar Panels in Massachusetts
Bay Staters might find themselves surprised to hear that solar panels in Massachusetts are worth the investment. Despite notoriously cloudy weather in the Northeast, homeowners can save thousands of dollars on electricity. They’ll have to commit to an investment, as the Bay State has some of the highest equipment prices in the country. At an average rate of $2.87/W, a typical 6kW solar panel system would cost around $17,220.
However, don’t let this number deter you; an array balances out when weighed against the state’s typical utility bill. Homeowners use little amounts of energy, but with some of the highest electricity rates in the country, they still end up paying around $141.35/mo. Well above the national average, Bay Staters have an opportunity to significantly offset their utilities.
To help get the ball rolling, residents of Massachusetts can apply the federal solar tax credit to their new array. This program returns 30% of solar purchases on federal taxes. When applied to a 6kW system, Bay Staters can see the price drop from $17,220 to $12,054.
How Much Solar Do Bay Staters Need?
Before you start putting together a budget, however, it’s essential to know that the above numbers only provide a state average. Because Bay Staters use quite a bit less power than people in other states, the size of their system may differ. To accurately determine the price of an array custom to your household, you’ll need to divide your electricity usage by the peak sun in your area. Let’s use Massachusetts averages in a case study.
Homeowners in the Bay State use an average of 20.1kWh a day (602kWh a month). When we divide that number by 3.84 hours, the average amount of sunlight Massachusetts receives, we discover that a solar array needs to produce 5.2kW an hour. Noticeably smaller than the average system in the United States, Bay Staters could expect to pay $14,924 to cover their utilities. This is over $2,000 lower than the cost for an average-size array.
Take some time to do this with your own household. Because sunlight varies depending on geographic location, you’ll want to refer to this Massachusetts sun chart for the average peak sun in your nearest city.
Massachusetts Solar Cost Factors
As briefly mentioned, geography and peak sun have a noticeable influence on the cost of solar panels in Massachusetts. For example, those installing a system in Boston may find as much as 4.6 hours of direct sunlight, nearly an hour more than average. For more case studies on how location affects solar panel costs, compare Massachusetts to nearby states:
The Bay State’s weather patterns also make the type of solar panel a critical decision. While those on the coast could get away with more affordable polycrystalline equipment, homeowners on the West side should consider monocrystalline. Although they’re a little more expensive, their efficiency makes them worth it in the long run for those that deal with cloudy conditions.
Finally, it’s important to review different installation companies before settling on one. You might be tempted to go with an installer with lower rates, but they could be cutting corners. A quality installation means you receive great equipment and lifetime warranties, ensuring that your system works as long as it should.
Best Massachusetts Solar Installers
With nearly 200 installers in the Bay State, homeowners should take the time to find the right one for their household. Using EnergySage’s pre-screening factors, we’re able to filter through some of those companies to provide you with a good start. When reviewing installers for solar panels in Massachusetts, you’ll want to look at their:
- Years of experience in the industry
- Contractor transparency
- Type of equipment
- Length of available warranties
- Certifications and licenses
Great Sky Solar is a local installer with its headquarters located in Arlington. The company has 11 years of experience installing solar panels and uses an in-house staff of technicians. They use top equipment from companies like Panasonic, LG Solar, Enphase Energy, and more. They support their panels with a full workmanship warranty and industry-standard certifications, including one from NABCEP.
While Great Sky Solar is the premier installation company in Massachusetts, their services are expensive. If you’re hoping to save money without sacrificing quality, you might consider PlugPV. Although it only has six years of experience, the Northeast-based company is quickly making a name for itself. Featuring much of the same equipment, warranties, and certifications, homeowners can feel comfortable that they’re receiving a high-caliber installation.
Can Solar Energy Save Bay Staters Money?
With high electricity rates and low usage, homeowners in Massachusetts are in an ideal position to save big with solar panels. Net returns come from offsetting the utility bill, which can be used to pay off an array. After covering the cost of the solar panel system, that offset turns into savings.
The average annual electricity bill in Massachusetts is $1,696.20 (from 141.35 a month). When homeowners in the Bay State use this offset to pay for a 6kW solar panel system, they can expect to have it covered in 10.2 years. This is just slightly longer than in some states, but still pretty good. And considering that households in Massachusetts need less solar than average, this number might drop.
After paying for their system, homeowners in the Bay State will start to see net returns. Figuring a lifespan for solar panels in Massachusetts of 20-25 years, residents could discover savings of as much as $16,623 to $25,104. Those who take advantage of the Bay State’s incentives can see that return increase.
Solar Panels in Massachusetts: Rebates, Credits, and Incentives
Massachusetts has some of the most comprehensive solar benefits in the country. These help balance the high cost of equipment and the relatively low amount of sunlight. The federal tax credit alone offers 30% back on installation, which saves homeowners over $5,000.
Fortunately, that program is just the start; Bay Staters can receive further state tax credits and rebates, as well as tax exemptions, net metering, and more. For a full list of benefits for solar panels in Massachusetts, check out our detailed incentives guide.
Solar Panels in Massachusetts: Further Reading
A high electricity rate makes up for expensive equipment costs, making solar panels in Massachusetts worth it. Homeowners making the switch can save up to $25,000 or more. To learn about how the Bay State supports other emerging technology, check out the articles below.
Owning an EV in Massachusetts: Charging Cost, Incentives, and More – One of the nation’s first states is known for progress. This includes ample support for electric vehicles.
Top 10 Internet Providers in Massachusetts – When you have no room to compromise on connectivity, these companies have you covered.
Solar Panels in Florida: Cost, Savings, and Rebates – See how Massachusetts compares to the Sunshine State when it comes to solar panels.
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