There is a reason why homeowners in Massachusetts from Boston to Springfield have been going solar and making the Bay State a top state in the US for going solar! Now more than ever solar panels have become both more affordable and more efficient but it is also our state’s lucrative solar incentives that have homeowners lined up to go solar for their homes - even in the Pioneer Valley.
So what does that mean for homeowners here in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts? Is the price of installing solar worth the free, renewable energy that you can harvest for upwards of 25 years? As the number one Massachusetts based solar installer, we have helped over 4,000 Bay Staters install solar panels on the roof or property, and there are a few things you should know about the “state of solar energy” here in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties, and how you can:
Reduce your energy costs
Increase your home’s resale value
Generate income from your solar production for up to ten years
Spend less on solar installation
Solar Panels Are More Efficient Than Ever
Before we even get into how much solar installation costs, it is important to understand the strides that solar technology has made in recent decades. Before the turn of the 21st century, the most efficient solar panel tests were reaching just above 15% efficiency. This meant that 15% of the potential solar energy hitting a photovoltaic (PV) solar cell was being converted into electricity. At the time, these solar panels were still in the prototype phase.
As of today, there are solar panels on the market that reach above the 20% efficiency mark, and scientists are developing solar cells that are reaching 40% efficiency! In short, solar PV systems are providing more energy than ever before.
Solar Panels Are More Affordable Than Ever
In addition to solar PV systems providing more renewable energy, the price of solar has dropped. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association:
“(solar) Prices as of Q1 2020 are at their lowest levels in history across all market segments”
The cost to install solar has dropped more than 70% over the last ten years! This is before factoring in any incentives, like the Federal solar tax credit, or the state incentives available here in Massachusetts!
Plus, since solar energy has become more desirable for those looking to buy a home, homes with solar panels are shown to increase the resale value of a home by an estimated 4%!
Lucrative Solar Incentives Available In Pioneer Valley
Utilizing solar energy in your Pioneer Valley home benefits your energy bill, and your carbon footprint. But it is also a positive for the local, national, and global environment, as well as your local electricity supplier. The more renewable energy your solar panels can convert from the sun’s rays, the less grid-supplied energy you will need to use, reducing grid demand. The federal government and the State of Massachusetts want to encourage homeowners to go solar, by providing the following financial incentives:
Federal Investment Tax Credit
However, this solar incentive will not last for much longer. This tax incentive allows you to reduce your federal tax liability by 26% of the total cost of your solar installation. If that amount is more than what you owe for that tax year, you can also roll over the remainder into the next tax year. After 2020, that percentage drops from 26% down to 22%, and after 2021 it will be eliminated for residential systems.
MA Solar Tax Credit
In addition to the Federal tax credit, the state of Massachusetts also offers an additional $1,000 with the Massachusetts Personal Income Tax Credit. This allows for a credit of $1,000, or 15% of qualifying project costs, whichever is less.
The Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) incentive blocks pay solar customers for their solar output, each month for ten years. This is extra income that can be used to offset electricity costs (if you have any). The amount you will receive will depend on the incentive block you are able to sign up for, which is on a first-come, first-served basis.
For those utility customers in Eversource MA West, the first 8 blocks of SMART are almost filled up. However, the expansion of the SMART program means there will be more opportunities for homeowners to receive SMART payments. The sooner you get into a block, the bigger the incentive payment you’ll receive monthly over the next ten years.
Check the SMART incentives available in your town with our service area search tool.
Massachusetts Net Metering
Earn credits to offset your electricity bill through net metering. Any excess solar energy that your Pioneer Valley home generates gets sent back to the grid while your meter counts backward and earns you a bill credit. Net metering helps to save homeowners on energy bills during times of low solar production like at night or during seasonal changes.
Local Property and Sales Tax Exemptions
Additionally in Massachusetts, your Pioneer Valley solar PV system will also be exempt from state property and sales taxes.
Backup Power Solutions for Pioneer Valley
It isn’t just the tax credits and solar incentives that make going solar worth it in the Pioneer Valley. Residents from Springfield to Amherst to Greenfield know all too well about the impacts of summer storms, Nor’Easters, ice storms and heavy snowfalls can have on widespread power outages across the Pioneer Valley. One clean energy solution is to not just go solar but to go solar plus storage with a solar battery backup solution.
Not only will a Tesla Powerwall, Generac PWRcell or sonnenBatterie give homeowners out in Western Massachusetts peace of mind in keeping the power on for when the next storm hits but to make it worth it, solar energy storage systems also qualify for the same tax and solar incentives and can receive additional incentives through the ConnectedSolutions program. This state utility program pays customers for utilizing solar battery storage during peak demand periods to help reduce the overall demand on the grid.
What To Know What It Cost To Install A Solar PV System In The Pioneer Valley?
To sum it all up, solar panels are cheaper than they have ever been, they are converting more electricity than ever, and there are still many incentives available to reduce the upfront cost of installing solar here in Western Massachusetts. We can even discuss how you could go solar for $0 down and be cash positive from day 1.
If you want to know if your home gets enough sunlight to make solar worth it, what a solar PV system might look like for you home, and what your options are for taking your home electricity into your own hands, schedule a free solar quote with the number one Massachusetts based solar installers at Boston Solar.
Interested in solar installation for your Western Massachusetts home? Schedule a free solar quote with the solar experts at Boston Solar. Call 617-858-1645 or get in touch here.