According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, in 2015, Massachusetts had 1,020 MW of solar energy installed, ranking it sixth nationwide. When all solar in the state is combined, there is enough energy produced to power 163,000 homes. Discover how Massachusetts’ supportive solar policies and incentives have led to significant solar development in the state.
To determine a grade for each state, our researchers and solar experts analyzed data on crucial solar-advancement criteria from the following sources:
- Rebates, Tax Credits, and Tax Exemptions from Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency;
- Electricity Rates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration;
- Renewable Energy Policy from NC Clean Energy Technology Center;
- Interconnection Ease from Freeing The Grid;
- Photovoltaic Potential from the Energy Department
We determined a rank from 1 to 10 for each state in each category. We then combined the scores with the following weights and assigned an overall grade for each state. Our goal is to encourage those considering solar for their homes to get a basic understanding of solar potential in their areas and discover the best opportunities for clean energy available.
Incentives & Rebates, 40%
Electricity Rate, 15%
Renewable Energy Policy, 30%
Interconnection Ease, 5%
Photovoltaic Potential, 10%
How Expensive is Electricity in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts averages $.18 cents/kWh, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, making it the fifth-highest ranking state for electricity prices. In 2014, the state generated nearly 69 percent of its electricity from natural gas and coal. The high price of electricity is a major motivator for consumers to convert to residential solar and with approximately 200 days per year of full or partial sun, Massachusetts residents are seeing that switching to solar makes good sense.
Cost of Residential Electricity
Data from U.S. Energy Information Administration
*as of Q3 2015
Library of Resources
Massachusetts Solar Panel Tax Credits & Policies
Since 2002, Massachusetts’ electricity providers have been working to meet and exceed the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). The RPS required 400 MW of solar to be installed by 2020. However, thanks to supportive solar policies, the state surpassed this goal four years ahead of schedule and has set a new goal of 1.6 MWs. The path to meet this goal is paved with policies, incentives, grants, and tax benefits for residents and businesses that make the switch to sun-based energy. From the Residential Renewable Energy Income Tax Credit to the Mass Solar Loan Program, home and business owners can benefit from solar.
The utility company Hudson Light & Power offers rebates for the installation of solar panels, for commercial, residential, municipal and industrial customers. Incentives vary based on panel orientation and application, and only apply to grid-connected customers.Revolving Energy Fund – PACE
Allows property owners to secure loans to pay for energy improvements, specifically solar water heat and solar panel systems. Repayment terms are determined by local administrations.Concord Municipal Light Plant – Solar Photovoltaic Rebate Program
Provides rebates to customers of the utility who install solar panels, for a maximum of incentive of $3,125.
Customers of the plant may be eligible for a rebate for solar panel installations, up to a maximum amount of $4,500 from the rebate amount being $1.50 per watt.Chicopee Electric Light – Residential Solar Rebate Program
Customers of Chicopee Electric Light may be eligible for a rebate if they install solar panel. The rebate provides up to a maximum amount of $2,500 from with the rebate amount of $.50/watt.Mass Solar Loan Program
Offers low-interest loans (from $3,000 to up to $60,000) for residents looking for funds to purchase solar panels. Loan terms, and length are lender-determined and certain income-qualifying customers can have some of their loan covered by the program.MuniHELPS
Offers the HELPS program, which provides incentives for installing solar energy systems and energy audits to increase energy efficiency.
No commercial-specific incentives.
State law requires the state’s investor-owned (but not municipal, who can do so on a voluntary basis) utility companies to provide net metering services for generators that create electricity from alternative energy sources.Solar Easements and Rights Laws
Massachusetts law allows for the creation of solar access contracts, and also prohibits the restriction of solar devices in any way that “unreasonably regulates” or prevents its use. Solar access is not an automatic right, however.Renewable Energy Trust Fund
Financed by a surcharge on every kilowatt hour paid by all customers of electric utilities, the fund is used to provide loans, grants, rebates, bill and energy production credits, and equity investments to customers, and also supports renewable energy projects.Interconnection Standards
applied to all forms of electric generation including renewables, as well as to the customers of the state’s owned utilities. The standards also require interconnection tariffs.Green Power Purchasing Commitment
Requires government agencies to use 15 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2012, and 30 percent by 2020.
None specifically for residential
Legislation enacted in 1997 requires that all retail energy supplies must provide 15 percent of sales of kW hours from renewable energy resources installed after December 31, 1997.Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC-II) Program
As per the state’s RPS, solar-electric facilities built after January 1, 2012, can generate SRECs, which can be bought by all electricity supplies to meet their solar RPS requirements. The incentive amount per credit varies according to the market.
offers a separate personal and corporate income tax deduction for income received by developing a U.S. patent that is considered beneficial for energy conservation or for the development of alternative energy, for up to five years.
Provides a maximum $1,000 incentive against the state’s income tax towards the purchase and installation costs of a renewable energy system on a residence.
None specifically for commercial
If solar energy and wind energy systems supply a taxable property with a primary or auxiliary power source, then the property is exempt from local property taxes for 20 years.
Allows sales tax to be exempted to be paid when a residential property owner buys equipment for any alternative energy source to be used as a primary or auxiliary power source for their primary home.
None specifically for commercial
Massachusetts Companies, Contractors & Installers
New England Clean Energy designs, engineers, and installs solar panels for homes and businesses around Massachusetts and other New England states.
Where it operatesHudson, MA
Year of opening2006
SolarFlair helping Massachusetts residents make a measurable impact on energy usage in their communities by switching to solar. With their panel installations, they can help locals both save money on electricity and save resources.
Where it operatesAshland, MA
Year of opening2007
Direct Energy Solar helps Massachusetts homeowners save thousands of dollars per year on electricity by installing solar energy. They tailor their solar systems specifically to individual homes to maximize efficiency and help residents get the most from their panels.
Where it operatesHopkinton, MA
Year of opening2008
SGE Solar offers solar energy solutions, designing and installing commercial and residential PV systems.
Where it operatesMilford, MA
Year of opening2008
Clean Energy Design offers design, construction, installation, monitoring, and maintenance and work to analyze the different technologies that would best suit each homeowner’s needs.
Where it operatesOsterville, MA
Year of opening1996
Cotuit Solar provides a variety of solar products to commercial and residential customers. They also offer a range of financing options through Mass Solar Loan, a Massachusetts program that incentivizes and assists in the conversion to solar power.
Where it operatesCape Cod, MA
Year of opening1988
PV Squared is a worker owned cooperative, providing clean solar energy to its customers and creating sustainable, living-wage jobs to strengthen their local economy. Their primary focus is on the sales, installation, and maintenance of solar electric systems.
Where it operatesGreenfield, MA
Year of opening2003
Northeast Solar offers residential, commercial, and agricultural solar energy solutions. This company also offers utility customers the opportunity to join a community solar coop.
Where it operatesHatfield, MA
Year of opening2010
Massachusetts Solar Panel Resources
Explore the website for DPU, which oversees investor-owned electric power and other utilities and ensures that utility consumers receive reliable service at a low-cost. Learn more about residential ratepayers’ rights and legislative updates regarding energy.
Stay updated on local, statewide, and federal initiatives, and view energy-related statistics for Massachusetts.
Keep up with all Massachusetts legislature and stay informed for energy-related policy changes and updates.
Find the latest studies and research, as well as industry reports for clean energy.
Search through a comprehensive list of all the incentives and policies provided in Massachusetts and the United States.
View the latest statistics for energy consumption, production, and prices in Massachusetts.