Massachusetts SMART Solar Program: 2024 Overview |

Please enter a valid zip code.

Massachusetts SMART Solar Program: 2024 Overview

Update: Due to rising utility rates, the SMART incentive for solar-only systems is $0/kWh in all MA territories. However, there is still value in the SMART incentive for solar systems paired with battery storage.

In 2018, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and the state’s three largest utilities launched the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program to encourage further rooftop solar installations after the extremely successful SREC II program closed.

Through the MA SMART solar program, the state’s three investor-owned utilities compensate solar owners for the electricity their systems produce. The program is one of several solar incentives available in Massachusetts that reduces the cost — and increases the savings — of installing a home solar system.

After early success, the SMART solar program doubled in size from 1,600 to 3,200 MW of capacity, thereby extending this incentive to many more homeowners.

In this article, we’ll explore how the SMART solar program works, the current incentive levels, and how to apply.

Connect with an Energy Advisor to see which solar incentives you qualify for.

Brief Overview of the Massachusetts SMART Program

Under the SMART Program, the state’s three investor-owned utilities, National Grid, Eversource, and Unitil, directly compensate participating solar system owners for their solar power generation.

Compensation is paid out on a monthly basis via mail or direct bank deposit for 10 years. The compensation rate (how much each kilowatt-hour of solar electricity is worth) is determined at the time a participant enrolls, and is locked for the 10-year duration of the program.

The program features a declining block structure, which means incentive levels were greatest when the program first opened and have been declining since. SMART participation is capped statewide at 3,200 MW in incentivized solar projects. Each utility supports a percentage of the program proportionate to the amount of electricity they distribute in the state.

SMART Massachusetts Solar Program logo

Massachusetts solar owners can participate in both net metering and SMART. However, SMART only applies to the value of solar electricity after net metering is applied. (We’ll show how this works below).

Related reading: Massachusetts Solar Rebates & Incentives in 2024

How to calculate your SMART program incentive

Unlike the SREC II program, which featured variable incentive levels based on market conditions, SMART participants lock in a flat rate for their solar production for 10 years. Here’s the basic formula for SMART program incentive rates:

Base compensation rate + Adder(s) – Value of Energy = SMART incentive rate

Let’s explore the elements of this equation to better understand how to calculate your SMART incentive rate.

  • Base compensation rate is the initial incentive value based on which block the program is in
  • Adders are ways to increase your base compensation rate. For homeowners, this means adding battery storage to your solar system.
  • Value of Energy is your utility rate at the time you enroll in SMART
  • SMART incentive rate is the rate at which you’ll be compensated for your solar production

Each utility provider has a set amount of solar capacity it can enroll in the Massachusetts SMART solar program, and this capacity is divided into blocks. As the program progresses through each block, the incentive level declines by four percent. Meanwhile, the value of energy (your utility rate) increases, further reducing the true incentive rate.

The table below shows a snapshot of SMART incentive rates for solar-only systems in 2024.

Massachusetts SMART incentive levels March 2024

Eversource MA East 9 of 16 $0.25038 $0.28191 $0.00
Eversource MA West 9 of 16 $0.21044 $0.26202 $0.00
National Grid (Nantucket) 3 of 4 $0.25704 $0.28224 $0.00
National Grid (Massachusetts Electric) 10 of 16 $0.22463 $0.28224 $0.00
Unitil 5 of 8 $0.22619 $0.32643 $0.00

*Blocks and compensation rates are accurate via as of March 2024. Data is subject to change as blocks progress and the value of energy changes.

So, SMART is no longer valuable as a solar incentive — but there is still value as a battery incentive.

(And remember, both solar and battery qualify for a 30% federal tax credit, and Massachusetts offers a solar tax credit worth up to $1,000).

Let’s see how adding battery storage to your project changes the equation.

SMART battery adder

Let’s say you install an 8 kW solar system in Massachusetts. With no battery, your SMART incentive would be zero. But with an average-sized battery (10 kWh), you’re SMART incentive would jump to $0.0487 per kWh of solar production.

So, if that solar system produces 10,000 kWh per year, you’d earn $487 per year through SMART. Over the 10-year program, your incentive payments would add up to $4,870.

In addition to boosting your SMART incentive, your battery can provide backup power during grid outages and allow you to store and use your own clean solar energy instead of pulling from a grid that relies heavily on gas-fired power plants.

Related reading: 5 Reasons to Go Solar in Massachusetts

How to Apply for the SMART Solar Incentive

At this point, SMART is basically a battery incentive — and one well worth claiming if you are interested in backup power, energy independence, and using your own clean solar electricity.

Solar systems that are less than 25 kW and interconnected to one of the three investor-owned utilities are invited to complete the SMART Statement of Qualification Application on the SMART Program website.

Here’s how to apply for SMART:

  1. Sign your solar agreement with your solar installer
  2. Your installer will apply on the PowerClerk system
  3. SMART Program representatives will provide a Preliminary Statement of Qualification for the incentive
  4. Your installer will install and obtain interconnection to the grid for your system
  5. Your installer will submit the incentive claim online for your project
  6. SMART Program representatives will provide a final statement of qualification
  7. Your utility will begin incentive payments to you through the same structure as your net metering crediting system

For more information, be sure to reference the official program resources, such as the Massachusetts SMART Program Application Requirements Checklist. There is no official deadline for this program as the closure is based on when all available blocks have been filled.

Is home solar still worth it in Massachusetts with low SMART program incentive levels?

There’s no question that the MA SMART solar program incentive levels aren’t as attractive in 2024 as they were in the past. So, is going solar still worth it in Massachusetts?

The answer is a resounding yes.

Massachusetts has other solar incentives that can reduce the cost of going solar and the state boasts the fourth-highest electricity prices in the nation. So, even without the SMART incentive, Bay Staters can substantially reduce their electricity costs and carbon footprint by installing a home solar system.

See how much you could save by comparing multiple quotes from local solar installers.


SMART program frequently asked questions

How does Massachusetts SMART program work?

Through the SMART program, Massachusetts’ three investor-owned utilites (Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil) compensate program participants for their solar production on a monthly basis for 10 years. A flat compensation rate is locked-in when the ratepayer signs up for SMART. Compensation rates depend on the solar owner’s utility service area, which block the incentive program is in, and electricity prices.

How is Massachusetts SMART program incentive paid?

According to Eversource, SMART incentive payments are distributed by mail or direct deposit on a monthly basis. Payments for systems under 25 kW (a vast majority of residential system) last for 10 years.

How do I calculate Massachusetts SMART program incentives?

The basic formula for calculating your SMART solar incentive level is: Base compensation rate + Adder(s) – Value of Energy = SMART incentive rate

SMART solar program incentives level are constantly changing based on the block and the value of energy. So, the easiest way to calculate your current incentive level is using the BTM Value of Energy Workbook found on this webpage. The workbook has an incentive calculator that you can plug your information into to find your compensation rate.


Return to

Solar Incentives by State

⇠ Return

See how much solar panels cost in your area.

Please enter a valid zip code.

Please enter a valid zip code.

Zero Upfront Cost. Best Price Guaranteed.


Federal Solar Tax Credit

The federal solar tax credit is back to 30%, and there's never been a better time to install solar and start saving on energy costs....

Learn More

SRECs: What are Solar Renewable Energy Credits?

With grid electricity prices soaring, home solar is already a means of substantial energy savings. But homeowners in eligible states can sweeten the deal by...

Learn More

How the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 Can Lower Your Energy Bills

Update: President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 into law on August 16, 2022. With a monumental climate bill now law, Americans have...

Learn More

ITC Step Down: Effects on Solar Installation

In August, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) increased the federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) from 30% for the next ten years. That's good news...

Learn More