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.

Massachusetts’ Solar
Report Card

Grade
Methodology

To determine a grade for each state, our researchers and solar experts analyzed data on crucial solar-advancement criteria from the following sources:

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

Massachusetts
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.

REBATES/INCENTIVES

Photovoltaic Incentive Program – Hudson Light & Power

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.

Taunton Municipal Lighting Plant – Residential PV Rebate Program

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.

POLICIES

Net Metering

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

Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS)

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.

TAX CREDITS

Alternative Energy and Energy Conservation Patent Income Tax Deduction

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.

Residential Renewable Energy Income Tax Credit

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

EXEMPTIONS

Renewable Energy Property Tax Exemption

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.

Renewable Energy Equipment Sales Tax Exemption

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

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

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

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

Second Generation Energy Solar

SGE Solar offers solar energy solutions, designing and installing commercial and residential PV systems.

Where it operatesMilford, MA

Year of opening2008

Clean Energy Design

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

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

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

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

Department of Public Utilities

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.

Department of Energy Resources

Stay updated on local, statewide, and federal initiatives, and view energy-related statistics for Massachusetts.

State Legislature

Keep up with all Massachusetts legislature and stay informed for energy-related policy changes and updates.

Massachusetts Clean Energy Center

Find the latest studies and research, as well as industry reports for clean energy.

DSIRE Incentives Database – Massachusetts

Search through a comprehensive list of all the incentives and policies provided in Massachusetts and the United States.

U.S. Energy Information Administration – Massachusetts State Profile

View the latest statistics for energy consumption, production, and prices in Massachusetts.