Most solar panels are installed on the rooftops of sun-drenched homes located in America’s Sun Belt. But solar energy is gaining traction in other places as well, including in a small northeastern state that isn’t known for its balmy weather.
In Massachusetts, solar energy use is expanding at a surprising and impressive rate. Even though Massachusetts is only the 15th most populated state, it currently sits just outside the top ten in total solar capacity, ranking 11th . The state’s government has been providing crucial support for homeowners interested in transitioning to solar, and the result is a burgeoning industry in a part of the country where solar energy had previously been slow to catch on.
The rise of solar energy in Massachusetts is a feel-good story. But its also a story about freedom and liberation, specifically from extremely high electricity costs. The average non-solar homeowner in the state currently pays $241 a month for electricity, which adds up to $2,892 annually . This is 43 percent higher than the national average, which reveals a major reason why so many Massachusetts homeowners are replacing their grid-tied electrical systems with rooftop solar panels .
Best solar companies in Massachusetts
|Solar Company||Greentumble Rating Score|
|All Energy Solar||4.3|
|Great Sky Solar||4.2|
Best Solar Company in Massachusetts: SunPower
With interest in solar energy rising in Massachusetts, the solar behemoth SunPower has established a strong presence in the state. The name ‘SunPower’ has become synonymous with quality and reliability in the solar field, and as a result many Massachusetts homeowners have chosen them to handle their solar installations.
Some of the benefits you’ll enjoy working with SunPower include:
#1 Standard-setting solar panels: Equinox solar panels from SunPower tops all the efficiency charts, converting an impressive 22.8 percent of the sunlight that reaches them into usable electricity.
#2 Extraordinary battery storage capacity: The SunVault Battery Storage System from SunPower merges seamlessly with the company’s Equinox panels, allowing you to store and eventually use all the excess solar energy your solar system produces on the longest sunny days.
#3 Free home evaluation: Your SunPower installation expert will fully evaluate your home for solar panel suitability, and while they are performing this critical task they will be glad to answer all your questions about how solar energy works and how it will change your life.
#4 Smooth integration of all components: SunPower manufactures all of its own equipment, including solar panels, inverters, mounting equipment and battery storage systems, either directly or through its partnership with its sister company Maxeon.
#5 Customized installation planning: SunPower will give you access to its consumer-friendly Design Studio app, which you can use to design your solar energy system based on your personal desires and preferences.
#6 Total digital system control: You can download the mySunPower app to your mobile device and use it to monitor and control your solar energy system from wherever you are at any given moment.
#7 Long-term warranties on parts and labor: SunPower is so confident you will be pleased with their work and the superior quality of their equipment that they offer a comprehensive 25-year warranty that covers every aspect of your solar installation.
SunPower has helped bring the solar revolution to the northeastern United States, and their clients in Massachusetts are among the prime beneficiaries of their success.
Sunrun is leading the solar charge in Massachusetts, just as it has done in so many other states. The company offers a variety of solar installation plans to its clients in the Bay State, plus grid-freeing battery storage through its patented Brightbox system.
When you contract Sunrun to handle your solar energy project, you’ll receive customized solar installation services executed by trained professionals with advanced skills and an impeccable reputation for customer service. Sunrun representatives will remain in dialogue with you throughout the duration of your installation project, making sure you’re fully informed about everything that is taking place.
A Sunrun solar installation will guarantee you access to the sun’s boundless energy. The company stands behind its work and equipment with iron-clad warranties, but you’ll likely never have to use them since Sunrun solar panels usually deliver peak performance for decades.
How to choose the best solar company in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts the number of solar installation companies has been increasing. This creates a challenge for you, the future solar homeowner, who must choose the solar installer who will provide you with the best combination of products and services at a price you can handle.
You should also check our video guiding you on how to find the best solar panels. This is the first step to set you on your journey when looking for a reliable solar company to install your panels.
There are a few factors to consider as you evaluate the possibilities. The first is customer reviews: do the companies you’re considering actually have a record of online reviews, and if so are they universally or nearly unanimously positive? If you have friends or neighbors who have installed solar panels, you will certainly want to ask them about their experiences with local solar contractors.
When a solar contractor dispatches an installation expert to your home to evaluate your property for solar panels, you should be sure to interact with that individual as much as possible. Ask a lot of questions, and make sure they are both able and willing to answer you in a clear, accurate and straightforward manner.
Cost is certainly important, and you should be looking for bids that are within your price range. But if a solar installation company is underbidding the competition by a good amount, it could mean they are planning to take some shortcuts. You want affordable but you don’t want cheap, and you must resist the temptation to automatically choose the solar contractor that gives you the best upfront price.
What you should really be looking for most of all is attention to detail, meaning you should choose an installation company that has spelled out in detail everything involved with your solar project, including how much it will cost, how long it will take to finish, and for how long their warranties on parts and labor last. Based on this vital information, you should be able to select the top solar installation company from your list of project bidders.
Further reading: Best Ways to Finance Solar Panels
Solar incentives in Massachusetts
State government support for solar energy in Massachusetts surpasses what is found in most states. The incentive programs available to new and existing solar homeowners include:
#1 Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program
The model SMART program requires commercially-owned Massachusetts utility companies to pay tariffs to customers who install solar panels on their residential properties . In most instances the compensation rates will fall somewhere between 10 and 39 cents per kilowatt-hour of energy produced by a homeowner’s solar energy system .
#2 Municipal Light Plant Solar Rebate Program
Municipally-owned utilities in several Massachusetts communities have a rebate program that rewards new solar homeowners by paying for up to half the cost of their solar installations .
Rates are set between $.60 and $1.20 per watt of solar capacity installed, which would translate to a rebate of between $3,600 and $7,200 to cover the costs of a six-kilowatt solar energy system .
#3 Residential Renewable Energy Income Tax Credit
A new solar homeowner in Massachusetts is allowed to deduct up to 15 percent of the cost of their solar installation from their state income tax, although the amount deducted cannot exceed $1,000 .
#4 Solar Installation Property Tax Exemption
Installing solar panels on your property will inevitably increase your home’s worth. But in Massachusetts solar energy will not raise your property tax assessment .
#5 Net Metering
In Massachusetts excess solar energy produced by rooftop panels can be routed back to the grid in return for credits that can be used to offset the cost of utility-produced electricity later on. Solar homeowners can expect to receive credits that match the current price of grid-produced electricity, as long as they don’t install solar panels with more than 10 kilowatts of capacity .
#6 Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit
Massachusetts homeowners who convert to solar energy can deduct up to 30 percent of the cost of their solar system from their federal income taxes .
Solar energy is soaring in the bay state
Given the price they pay for electricity (31 cents per kilowatt-hour consumed, which is a stunning 79 percent above the national average), it’s hardly shocking to see Massachusetts residents flocking to solar .
Nevertheless, solar energy in Massachusetts doesn’t come cheap. Factoring in the 30 percent federal tax credit, the estimated cost of installing a six-kilowatt system for an average-sized home in the state is currently $15,806 . For a 10-kilowatt system designed for a larger home, the cost would be $26,344 .
But your long-term savings will more than offset this initial investment. If you purchase your solar energy system in Massachusetts with cash, you can expect to save $55,758 on electricity over the next 20 years . The average solar payback period in the state is 8.32 years, meaning you’ll be getting your electricity for free beyond that point .
It is clear that solar energy is working extremely well for homeowners in Massachusetts. Even in the colder climates of New England, energy independence is achievable with solar.