Solar Panel Cost in Massachusetts (2022 Local Savings Guide)
In this EcoWatch guide on the cost of solar panels in Massachusetts, you’ll learn:
- What the average cost of going solar in Massachusetts is
- How system sizes affect solar panel installation costs in Massachusetts
- How Massachusettsans can save money when going solar
- Which local installation companies have the best prices
This guide has helped thousands of Massachusetts homeowners save time and money when going solar by teaching them exactly what affects installation costs in the Bay State. Let’s get started!
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How Much Do Solar Panels Cost in Massachusetts?
As noted, installing solar energy projects in Massachusetts is more expensive than the U.S. average. Based on market research and data from top solar brands, the average cost of solar panels in Massachusetts is about $2.94 per watt. Compared with the U.S. average of $2.66 per watt, residents of Massachusetts can expect to pay about 11% more.
Of course, the cost per watt is just a normalizing metric, but how much an individual project will cost depends on total system characteristics. For an average-sized solar power installation project of about 5 kilowatts (kW), someone in Massachusetts can expect to pay an all-in cost of $10,290 after the federal solar tax credit is applied.
This value changes based on the size of the project, and the following table of potential system capacities highlights how that can fluctuate:
|Size of Solar Panel System||Massachusetts Solar Panel Cost||Cost After Federal Tax Credit|
Take note that these values are simply averages. Some systems may cost notably more than indicated in the table if the installation environment is particularly challenging or a more expensive installation company is chosen. Other customers will find their total bill to be lower than indicated above if their projects are straightforward and easy to complete.
For an accurate estimate for your home, you should consult with an expert and/or solar installer who can fine-tune a quote to your specific needs.
Watch Below: Thousands without power as temperatures rise in Massachusetts
What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in Massachusetts?
The average Massachusetts homeowner pays anywhere from $8,702 to $20,580 for a solar panel system after the federal investment tax credit (ITC) is accounted for. The wide range of solar panel prices is due to a few factors — we’ll discuss some of the major ones that affect your solar system costs below.
One of the primary factors influencing your solar panel system cost is the type and brand of equipment you install. Massachusetts receives around 197 sunny days per year — a little below the national average of 205.
Despite there being less available sunlight, there’s still plenty to allow most homeowners to offset their energy bills with an average-size system of 6.5 kW. Massachusetts homeowners rarely need to buy the most efficient solar panels, which typically come at the highest costs.
However, the state is prone to extreme weather, given its coastal location. Hurricanes, tropical storms and nor’easters can all contribute to power outages, which occur relatively frequently.
As a result, many Massachusetts residents choose to couple their panels with solar batteries. These can add tens of thousands of dollars to your total system cost in the Bay State.
Solar Financing in Massachusetts
You’ll have a few options when it comes to paying for your solar panels.
- Paying with cash, of course, comes with the highest layout up front but leads to the greatest savings over time.
- A solar loan decreases or eliminates your up-front cost, but your system will end up costing more because of the interest.
- Solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs) save you the least amount of money on your electric bills, and they also come with no up-front costs in most cases.
Massachusetts offers Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing to help make solar affordable, although this is only available to commercial customers and multi-family residences in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Solar Panel Installation Company
The company you choose to install your solar panels will affect your overall pricing in a few ways.
First, each company has varying labor charges for the installation and can upcharge equipment. Generally speaking, the national solar companies in Massachusetts — like SunPower and Momentum Solar — tend to have lower equipment prices, although smaller companies can offer discounts to stay competitive.
Additionally, each solar installer carries different brands that vary in their pricing, efficiency, availability and warranty coverage.
- SunPower, for example, only installs panels from its sister company, Maxeon. These panels are highly efficient and come with an outstanding warranty, but they’re also some of the most expensive panels on the market.
- Boston Solar, a local Massachusetts company, installs more-affordable panels from Tesla, LG and Trina Solar. These panel options are cheaper than SunPower’s, which means the overall cost of a home solar energy system from Boston Solar will be lower.
Additional Considerations and Costs
While the factors described above are the most crucial in determining your solar system cost, there are some additional things you should consider before committing to renewable energy. We’ll discuss these below and why they’re important.
- Permits: Every municipality in Massachusetts requires that you pull a building permit for your solar panel installation. Reputable solar installers will handle the permitting process for you, but keep in mind that you might see a charge for the permitting cost on your final bill.
- Licenses: Massachusetts only requires that an installer hold an electrical contractor license to be certified for photovoltaic installations. More stringent requirements tend to drive up the labor cost a bit, so this single license requirement should have a minimal impact on your overall cost.
- Warranties: You’ll likely be paying in excess of $10,000 for your solar equipment, so you should pay careful attention to the warranty that’s included. The longer and more comprehensive the warranty, the better, especially in Massachusetts, where extreme weather is a factor. However, keep in mind that better warranties also tend to equate to higher equipment costs.
- HOAs: Massachusetts provides residents with solar rights and easement laws, which means no private entity — including strict homeowners’ associations — can prevent you from installing solar panels on your property.
- Environmental zoning: Zoning laws can sometimes cause issues for homeowners looking to install solar panels. Massachusetts is very much in favor of adopting solar energy and other clean energy solutions, so you’re unlikely to run into any issues with zoning.
How Can You Save Money With Massachusetts’ Solar Panel Incentives?
While the upfront cost for solar panels can be intimidating, those considering diving into the world of solar energy should be encouraged by the fact that there are a number of solar rebates and incentive programs that allow homeowners in Massachusetts to save on their solar panel installations. We’ve summarized need-to-know details in the table below, but you can read more about each offering in our Massachusetts solar incentives guide.
|Massachusetts Solar Incentives||Description|
|Residential Renewable Energy Income Tax Credit||Massachusetts homeowners are eligible for a 15% tax credit (up to $1,000) on their state income tax filing|
|Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program||This program allows Massachusetts residents to be compensated for every kilowatt hour of energy generated by their solar systems.|
|Massachusetts Solar Tax Exemptions||Massachusetts does not collect sales tax on solar equipment and omits the added value of solar panels from property tax assessments.|
|Massachusetts Net Metering Program||Homeowners are paid per kilowatt-hour for all excess electricity their panels generate and push back into the central power grid.|
|Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC)||This solar incentive is available to all Americans. It allows solar adopters to claim 30% of their total equipment and installation costs as a tax credit on their next federal filing.|
Any certified solar company in Massachusetts can ensure your system qualifies for the above incentives — and can help you apply for them.
The Best Solar Panel Brands Available in Massachusetts
As we explained above, the brand of solar panels you choose will have an impact on your pricing, and sometimes a drastic one. The table below provides relative pricing for some of the best solar panel brands in the industry. This should help you decide which options are likely to suit your budget and which might be a bit of a stretch.
|Solar Panel Brand||Average Cost Per Watt ($-$$$$$)|
Curious to see how much a customized solar system will cost for your home? Fill out the form below, and we’ll have a reputable solar installer in your area give you a free quote for a system that can offset your energy consumption.
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FAQs: Solar Panel Cost in Massachusetts
At EcoWatch, we’re happy to get questions about the process and costs of getting rooftop solar from Massachusetts residents. Below are some of the questions we see most often, along with our responses. If you have specific questions that aren’t answered here, reach out to our team of solar experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cost to install solar panels in Massachusetts will vary greatly based on many factors, including the size of the project, the solar incentives utilized, the financing method used to pay for them, the solar installation company chosen, the specific equipment used, and more. That said, the cost to install solar panels comes out to an average of $2.94 per watt, about 11% greater than the national average of $2.66 per watt. For a 5-kilowatt solar system, that would mean a cost for installation (after applying for the federal solar tax credit) of about $10,290.
No, solar panels are not free in Massachusetts. That said, the costs are continuing to fall and many solar tax incentives exist at the local, state, and federal levels, aiming to make them more affordable. Virtually all solar projects, when installed by experts, will end up paying for themselves well within their lifetime, creating a net profit for owners in the end.
Yes, solar panels are a valuable asset for any home, and for a homeowner who takes the initiative to plan and install them, the resale value of their home will inevitably go up. Thanks to a key benefit offered by the state of Massachusetts, the increase in home value due to solar installations is omitted from property tax assessments.