5 Reasons to Go Solar in Massachusetts
Homeowners in Massachusetts can take advantage of some of the best prices and incentives when they go solar through the Mass Solar Connect Program. Here are 5 great reasons why you should consider solar today if you live in Massachusetts.
1. National Prices Are Lower than Ever Before
Homeowners can now take advantage of solar prices at an all-time low. Increasing efficiency of the production process, a decline in polysilicon prices, and competition among manufacturers have led to declining production costs and ultimately a reduction in the cost of solar modules. On top of that, improving technologies and new entrants in the inverter and mounting markets have led to even lower system costs. Homeowners today can expect to pay less than half the cost of an installed home solar system 8 years ago, and incentives on the federal and state levels make the deal even more attractive.
However, as Massachusetts and other states around the country phase out subsidies and module prices begin to flatten, it appears that the decline in system costs will not continue at the same rapid pace in the years to come. By installing a solar system now, you can save an average of $8,265 total on energy bills by 2020. These savings far outweigh the expected reduction in the cost of a system if you were to wait until 2020 to go solar. Even if ambitious price reduction goals are met, the price of an average solar system is expected to decline by just $4,580 by 2020. Homeowners save more from installing systems now and taking advantage of energy savings right away – even before the current statewide incentives are considered. Check out our blog post on the financial benefits of going solar right now for a thorough breakdown.
2. Take Advantage of Statewide Incentives
Massachusetts residents have access to one of the best solar incentive programs in the country – but the incentives are expected to soon decline. Under the Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) II program, homeowners receive a credit for each megawatt-hour of solar electricity produced by their home’s system. SRECs are awarded for ten years, and homeowners are able to sell these credits to a utility in an open market. Prices vary annually because they are determined by the market, but homeowners can expect to earn more than they would with Net Energy Metering (NEM) alone. This program, initiated in 2014, was originally slated to conclude in January 2017 but was conditionally extended by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources until the state’s new incentive program begins in early 2018. Though the program extension offers only 80% of credit for each megawatt-hour of energy produced by a system, the financial incentives are still more favorable than those of the soon-to-be replacement – the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) incentive program.
The SMART program will use a declining block structure made up of 200 MW increments, each block receiving a lower incentive rate. The incentives for the first block will be determined based on a bidding system between commercial installers, and incentives will be reduced by 4% following each 200 MW installed until the state reaches its 1,600 MW goal. The incentive awarded in each block will also vary depending on the value of energy under NEM. Though the exact incentive values have yet to be determined, it is almost certain that incentives will be significantly lower than they are under the current SREC II program. Now is the time to go solar in Massachusetts to take full advantage of the state’s best incentives.
3. The Mass Solar Loan Program
The Mass Solar Loan program makes going solar even more affordable for the state’s residents. With $30 million in public funds, the program provides homeowners with low interest, fixed-term loans to go solar. So far, more than 2,700 homeowners have taken advantage of Mass Solar Loans, and if you’re looking to finance a project under $60,000 that has yet to be installed, you could too. The program provides a 1.5% interest rate buy-down, utilizing program funds to partially pay off your loan up front so that you receive a lower interest rate. The result is a median interest rate of just 3.24%, significantly less than many offered by third-party financiers. The program also offers an incentive for residents without strong credit scores who are interested in going solar with a loan. Loans are a great option for homeowners looking to purchase a system and take advantage of the Federal Investment Tax Credit without the high upfront cost of a cash purchase, and the Mass Solar Loan program makes the option even more attractive.
4. The Federal Investment Tax Credit Won’t Last
On top of the great state-level incentives, Massachusetts homeowners who choose to purchase their solar systems with cash or a loan can also take advantage of the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC). This tax credit, a sum of money that can be used to offset tax liability in the present or future, is currently valued at 30% of the gross system cost. However, like state incentives, this credit will not last forever. The value of the ITC will decrease to 26% of the system cost in 2020 and just 22% of the system cost in 2021. No federal tax credit is currently planned for residential systems established after 2021, and to take advantage of the full 30% credit, construction must begin by the end of December 2019. If you’re considering solar for your home, act quickly before this window of opportunity closes.
5. The Mass Solar Connect Program
For the rest of the year, homeowners can go solar through the Mass Solar Connect program, supported by MassCEC in partnership with Solar.com, The Cape and Islands Self-Reliance, and the Marion Institute. With Solar.com’s free service, homeowners can receive 6-12 bids for their solar project, an average of $4,780 in up-front savings, and an unbiased solar expert to support you along the way. Even better, the first 30 homeowners to go solar through Mass Solar Connect receive a $250 rebate and a free Nest Learning Thermostat, a smart thermostat that learns your comfort preferences and helps you save energy.
Go Solar Today
Now is the best time for Massachusetts homeowners to power their homes with solar. On top of all-time-low prices and the Federal Investment Tax Credit, the SREC II and statewide loan programs provide strong incentives for Massachusetts residents. Better yet, the Mass Solar Connect program will provide customers with an additional rebate for a limited time. Going solar is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint while saving on your energy bill, and there’s never been a better time to choose solar in the Bay State.