Solar Panel Cost Guide in Cambridge, MA (Aug 2022)

  • Cambridge Solar Installation Cost: $9,703
  • 25-Year Savings: $17,815
  • Payback Period: 8.8 Years

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EcoWatch Local Advisors

By EcoWatch Local Advisors

Updated 7/19/2022

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Average Cost of Solar Panels in Cambridge

Let's take a look at the average cost of solar in Cambridge.

Currently, the national average cost of solar panels is $2.66 per watt. However, in Cambridge, the typical cost of solar panels is $3 per watt. The average Cambridge homeowner needs a 4.5-kilowatt system, which would cost about $9,703, or $7,180 after the federal solar tax credit is applied.

The true cost of your system can be higher or lower than the average in Cambridge based on several factors, such as the type of solar panels you choose and the solar installer you hire. With average savings of about $23,000 on energy bills over 20 years, many homeowners in Cambridge find installing solar panels can pay off big.

You can click the button below to get connected with a vetted solar company in Cambridge that can help you get a more accurate cost estimate for your home.

Solar savings over time in Cambridge

Year Return on Investment
1 years $-8,602
3 years $-6,401
5 years $-4,200
7 years $-1,998
9 years $203
11 years $2,405
13 years $4,606
15 years $6,807
17 years $9,009
19 years $11,210
21 years $13,412
23 years $15,613
25 years $17,815

Top Solar Installers in Cambridge

When making the switch to solar, many homeowners opt to hire a solar company since installing solar panels yourself can be a difficult project. Another perk of utilizing a solar installer is that they can help you make the most of your investment by cutting back on future costs of repairs and replacements with the help of warranties and informing you of local incentives you can take advantage of.

Working with a vetted solar installer can make going solar easier. Here are our recommendations:

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

The Green Panel

★★★★★
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

See all of the solar companies in Cambridge

Factors that Affect Solar Panel Costs in Cambridge

For many Cambridge homeowners, the decision to go solar comes down to cost. However, the range of solar installation costs can be quite wide in Cambridge, with typical prices between $20,000 to $40,000. There are several factors that considerably influence the price you'll pay, which we'll go over below.

Solar Equipment Size

When it comes to estimating the price of a solar panel system in Cambridge, one of the most important factors is the size of the system you need. Solar systems are sized by kilowatts (kW) and are largely based on your home's energy usage, which you can figure out by looking at past electricity bills. Your overall cost can increase by about $2,940 for each additional kilowatt you need. The solar equipment you choose can bring your price up or down by thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. If you opt for the most efficient solar panel brands, you'll end up paying more upfront than if you opted for the most affordable panels. However, more efficient panels could save you more over time on your electric bills. Additionally, extra products, like solar batteries, can bump up your total well above the Cambridge average.

Solar Financing Terms

For some homeowners, paying for a solar system out of pocket can be difficult. Solar loans are offered by most installers in Cambridge, which can reduce, or in some cases totally eliminate, your upfront costs to make solar more accessible. However, the interest on solar loans also increase your total costs, so it's crucial to include that in your estimate as well. You can always bring down the total you pay in interest and in some cases even your APR by making a larger down payment.

Solar Panel Installation Company

The last key cost factor you should keep in mind is the installer you choose. Given the booming popularity of renewable energy solutions in Cambridge, you'll have many options to choose from, but each comes at different price points for labor and equipment. The company's size can sometimes play the most considerable role in the cost. Larger national companies, like SunPro and Sunrun, often have lower pricing because they have greater resources and bulk pricing. Smaller local companies might be more costly, but they generally have better customer service and more customization options, and the occasional sale or promotion can bring their pricing down to compete with bigger names.

Solar Panel Cost Data by System Size

System size Cost per system watt Solar system cost 25-Year savings Payback period
6 kW $3.06 $13,576 $23,448 9.2 years
8 kW $3.00 $17,753 $31,612 9.0 years
10 kW $2.94 $21,756 $39,950 8.8 years
12 kW $2.88 $25,585 $48,463 8.6 years
14 kW $2.82 $29,240 $57,149 8.5 years
16 kW $2.76 $32,721 $66,009 8.3 years
18 kW $2.70 $36,028 $75,044 8.1 years
20 kW $2.65 $39,161 $84,252 7.9 years

Solar Incentives in Cambridge

Name Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program
Incentive Amount (Base compensation rate + compensation rate adders - greenfield subtractor) * total kWh generated - value of energy generated
Incentive Max The ceiling price for the competitive procurement to determine the base compensation rate was $0.17/kWh.
For systems 25 kW or less, the combination of a base compensation rate and adder may not exceed the base compensation rate for low-income projects less than or equal to 25 kW.
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name ITC
Type Tax Incentive
Incentive Amount 26% of installation cost
Website Visit here

Name Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC-II)
Incentive Amount Varies, depending on market supply and demand
Incentive Max 2017 compliance year: Alternative Compliance Payment Rate is $350 per MWh (~$0.35 per kWh)
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Renewable Energy Property Tax Exemption
Incentive Amount 100% exemption for 20 years
Incentive Max Not specified
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Residential Renewable Energy Income Tax Credit
Incentive Amount 15%
Incentive Max $1,000
More Info Click here

Name Mass Solar Loan Program
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Local Option - Energy Revolving Loan Fund
More Info Click here

Name Alternative Energy and Energy Conservation Patent Income Tax Deduction (Personal)
Incentive Amount 100% deduction
More Info Click here

Name Reading Municipal Light Department - Residential Renewable Energy Rebates
Incentive Amount MLP Solar Rebate Program: $1.20 per watt
Residential Renewable Energy Rebate Program: $1.00 per watt
Incentive Max MLP Solar Rebate Program: 50% of cost or $30,000, whichever is less
Residential Renewable Energy Rebate Program: $2,000
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

Name Renewable Energy Equipment Sales Tax Exemption
Incentive Amount 100% exemption
Incentive Max None
Website Visit here
More Info Click here

How to Save on Solar Panels

There are many companies to choose from in Cambridge, and some homeowners feel overwhelmed considering their options. Picking the right company for you can be difficult, so here are some tips to help you decide:

  • Warranty: Each company may offer different kinds of warranties that provide different kinds of coverage. A 25-year, all-inclusive warranty is the gold standard.
  • Reputation: Solar companies that have great reviews from their customers and that have been operating for many years in most cases provide good-quality solar panel installation and expertise.
  • Installation Process: Homeowners should understand how exactly the installation process will be carried out, as well as important factors like the project timeline.
  • Contract: Although reading through a contract can take a lot of time, it's important to do it carefully so you can be sure you understand what services your solar company will provide and the terms of the warranty.

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

The Green Panel

★★★★★
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 Cost FAQs

What is the average cost of installing solar panels in Cambridge?

This is a tough question to answer precisely, because the cost depends on a variety of factors. Broadly speaking, it costs about $14,700 for a 5-kW system and $29,400 for a 10-kW system after the ITC is applied. It will be more expensive if you want additional solar equipment or more efficient panels, or if you have higher-than-average energy consumption. On the flip side, you can spend less if you go with a smaller solar panel system or less efficient solar panels.

Is cost the most important consideration when buying solar panels?

Cost is a key factor to consider, but whether it's the most important for you depends on why you decided to go solar. In places where rooftop space is limited, efficiency can trump the cost. Other factors that are important to consider are the quality and durability of your solar panels.

Do solar panels increase the value of your home?

Solar panels can increase the value of your property by about 4%, according to research done by Zillow. The average home value in Cambridge is currently $787,803, which means you could be looking at a value of about $32,300 more than houses without a solar system. The specific figures will vary, but most experts agree that installing solar panels in Cambridge is a worthwhile investment.

How often do you have to replace solar panels?

On average, the lifespan of solar panels is about 25 to 30 years. Some even last up to 50 years, but their efficiency decreases by about 0.8% each year. You can choose to replace them sooner if you want to maintain a higher level of energy production.

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.

Company 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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