2023 Solar Incentives Guide for Cambridge, MA - Tax Credits & Rebates

In this guide, we'll cover the latest solar incentives and rebates available in Cambridge.

You'll learn about:

  • Local & State Solar Incentives
  • Federal Tax Credits (Updated for 2023 and beyond)
  • Ways to optimize your solar investment

Solar installers are experts in maximizing your solar tax credits and rebates.
Get a free quote from one of our trusted Cambridge solar installers to see how much you can save.

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Data Analysis: James Savino

Ranking Methodology: Karsten Neumeister

Updated January 20, 2023

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We work with a panel of solar experts to create unbiased reviews that empower you to make the right choice for your home. No other site has covered renewables as long as us, which means we have more data and insider information than other sites. Our rankings are never affected by revenue or partnerships.

What Solar Tax Credits, Incentives, and Rebates are Available in Cambridge?

Renewable Energy Property Tax Exemption

Incentive Type:
Property Tax Incentive
Solar energy systems used for heating or cooling: out-of-pocket expenditures by the owner for the components and labor
Wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, solar thermal, solar PV, and other solar energy systems: the assessed value of the system

Residential Renewable Energy Income Tax Credit

Incentive Type:
Personal Tax Credit

Renewable Energy Equipment Sales Tax Exemption

Incentive Type:
Sales Tax Incentive
100% exemption

Alternative Energy and Energy Conservation Patent Income Tax Deduction (Personal)

Incentive Type:
Industry Recruitment/Support
100% deduction

Cape Light Compact- Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Incentive Type:
Rebate Program
Appliances
Refrigerator and Freezer Recycling: $125
Electric Clothes Dryers: $50
Clothes Washer: $350
Dehumidifiers: $30
Room Air Purifiers: $40
Room Air Conditioner: $40

Heating & Cooling
Oil Heating System: Up to $800
Propane Heating Equipment: Up to $2,300
Oil Water Heater: Up to $400
Propane Water Heater: Up to $800
Heat Pump Water Heater: Up to $600
Central AC/Heat Pump: Up to $250/ton
Mini-Split Heat Pump: Up to $250/ton
Programmable Thermostats: Up to $25
WiFi Thermostat: Up to $100
Solar Domestic Hot Water heater: $500 - $1,500

Home Electronics
Advanced Power Strips: Varies

Home Insulation
Limited Time Enhanced Incentive: 75%
Year-Round Tenant Incentive: 100%
Enhanced Residential Program: 100%

Lighting
LEDs: Varies

Home Energy Assessment: Free

Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program

Incentive Type:
Performance-Based Incentive
(Base compensation rate + compensation rate adders - greenfield subtractor) * total kWh generated - value of energy generated

Mass Solar Loan Program

Incentive Type:
Loan Program
Maximum required: $35,000; maximum possible: $60,000

Residential and Small-Scale Ground-Source Heat Pump Rebate Program

Incentive Type:
Rebate Program
New GSHP Rebate: $2,000 per ton with adders to eligible applicants
Retrofit Existing GSHP Rebate: varies with installation costs

Commonwealth Woodstove Change-Out Program

Incentive Type:
Rebate Program
Standard Residential:
Pellet Stove: $1,000 - $1,750
Catalytic Woodstove: $750 - $1,250
Non-Catalytic Woodstove: $500-$1,250

Fully Automated Wood Stove: $1,500 - $1,750
Low-Income Residential:
Pellet Stove: $2,500 - $3,250
Catalytic Woodstove: $2,250 - $2,750
Non-Catalytic Woodstove: $2,000-$2,750
Fully Automated Wood Stove: $2,750 - $3,250

Local Option - Energy Revolving Loan Fund

Incentive Type:
PACE Financing
Financing amount locally determined; 20-year financing term

Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC-II)

Incentive Type:
Solar Renewable Energy Credit Program
Varies, depending on market supply and demand

Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit

Incentive Type:
Personal Tax Credit
30% federal tax credit for systems placed in service after 12/31/2021 and before 01/01/2033. Good for: solar water heat, solar photovoltaics, biomass, geothermal heat pumps, wind (small), fuel cells using renewable fuels.

Source: https://www.dsireusa.org/


The phrase "solar incentives" refers to a range of financial incentives implemented to make installing and using solar panels more affordable. This is done to encourage people to switch to renewable energy. Various kinds of incentives, such as discounts, cash back or monthly utility bill credits, may be available to you. Some incentives may be handled by the state of Massachusetts, by your utility company or by county or municipality, while other incentives are federal. Types of solar incentives might include:

  • Rebates: Some solar companies will help you claim a rebate, or partial refund of your purchase, for your solar panels. States or counties will also sometimes offer limited-time rebates. The value of a rebate will usually be deducted from your total price before any tax credits are calculated.
  • Net Metering: Net metering factors in after your solar panels are up and running. If you've signed a net metering agreement with your Cambridge utility company, the company will subtract the value of the excess energy your solar system produces from your monthly utility bill. In some locations, this is a dollar-for-dollar credit, while in others you might make back a percentage of the value.
  • Tax Exemptions: Your solar panel system could qualify for exemptions on both sales and property tax. Sales tax exemptions are applied at the time of purchase. Property tax exemptions allow you to exclude the added value of the solar panels when you are calculating property taxes on your house.
  • Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC): SRECs and similar performance-based incentives are usually handled at the state level. Once your solar panel system meets the threshold (usually a small amount of energy production), you are eligible to receive SRECs that you can then sell to your utility company or other buyers. The money you receive from the sale is usually considered part of your taxable income.
  • Tax Credits: Unlike tax deductions, tax credits reduce, dollar-for-dollar, the amount of income tax that you owe the government.

Federal Solar Incentives

When someone says "solar incentives," you probably think of federal incentives first. The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit, or ITC, is the most commonly known federal solar incentive. The ITC provides a tax credit for a set percentage of your solar system's cost.

The ITC covers solar systems installed after January 1, 2006 and lets you deduct from your taxes a percentage of the total cost of solar panels, labor, accessories and equipment. This credit can apply towards a solar panel system installed on a primary or secondary residence that you own in the United States. Originally, you could claim 30% of the total cost, although certain projects may qualify for only 26%, depending on the details. There is no maximum amount you can claim.

To best understand how the ITC might apply to your situation, call your local Cambridge solar panel installer and ask for more information.

The ITC has been renewed and expanded following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in August 2022. It's also now called the Clean Energy Credit. For solar system installations that begin after January 1, 2022 and are completed by the end of 2032, homeowners may be eligible for a credit equal to 30% of the total cost. This percentage will decrease annually after 2032 until the Clean Energy Credit expires in 2035. Starting in 2023, the program expansion will also make it easier to get credit for energy storage systems.

Click here to learn more about the new Inflation Reduction Act. To best understand how the new Clean Energy Credit will apply to you, get in touch with your local Cambridge solar installation company.

State & Local Solar Incentives

Some solar incentives are often also provided by state and local governments. As with federal incentives, these may include rebates, tax credits and more. Some incentives are ongoing, while others are available for a limited time. Incentives may be offered by your county or municipality, or by the Massachusetts government.

Next Steps for Installing Solar in Cambridge

Nationwide solar energy use has gone up significantly in the past 15 years, in part thanks to the proliferation of solar incentives. You can obtain these incentives from the Massachusetts government, the federal government or your local utility company. Reaching out to your local Cambridge solar panel installation company is the best first step towards getting the most money possible when you switch to solar energy.

Best National Provider

SunPower

★★★★★
5.0

  • Most efficient panels on the market
  • National coverage
  • Cradle to Cradle sustainability certification
  • Great warranty coverage
  • Expensive
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

Best Regional Coverage

Momentum Solar

★★★★★
4.5

  • Great warranty coverage
  • Representatives are experts on local policies
  • Concierge service ensures steady communication
  • Slightly limited service offerings

Best Technology

Tesla Energy

★★★★★
4.5

  • Price-match guarantee
  • Sleek, efficient, and durable solar panels
  • Best solar battery on the market
  • Some reported issues with customer service
  • Customer service varies by local dealer

EcoWatch's Cambridge, MA Solar Incentives FAQs

What are the best solar panel installation companies near me?

To find a top-rated solar panel installer, check out our guide to the top solar companies in Cambridge.

What are some environmental benefits of installing solar panels on my house?

You can decrease your carbon footprint by 200 pounds of CO2 a year when you install solar panels. This adds up to roughly 4,000 pounds over 20 years. Solar is also a renewable energy source, meaning that making the switch reduces the drain on our planet's resources.

If I change out my appliances for ones that utilize solar energy, are there any credits I can claim?

The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act introduces a number of incentives meant to reward homeowners for making eco-friendly upgrades. Some of these incentives include tax credits and rebates for installing new electric appliances. You can find more details about these incentives here.

Can I use both solar and another type of renewable energy to power my home?

Yes, you can use multiple types of renewable energy to power your home, such as a combination of geothermal and solar. You can also combine renewable energy generation with a backup source of non-renewable energy. You should discuss the details of your plan with your local Cambridge solar panel installer, so that you understand what you'll need and what incentives you will or won't qualify for.

Our goal is to reach as many people as we can with sensible solutions like solar energy. Our team of full-time local researchers collects solar price and installation data for every city in America then compiles it to create these digestible city guides. If you want to read our solar expert's opinion on the top solar companies featured here, follow this link.

Solar incentive research was conducted by Melissa Smith and Karsten Neumeister. Local data analysis was conducted by James Savino. See something we missed or could do better? Email the editor.

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