Cost of Solar Panels in Massachusetts: What to Expect (2022)

Massachusetts has quickly established itself as one of the most renewable energy-friendly states in the nation, and a large part of that is due to its growing solar energy industry. Surprisingly, however, the cost of solar panels in Massachusetts is actually over 10% higher than the national average.

Solar energy is beneficial for the climate and helps ensure reliability of power, but installing solar is also a major financial decision. How long will it take for solar panels to pay for themselves, and how much upfront capital is needed to get started? How much do solar panels cost in Massachusetts, exactly? In this article, we’ll explore the answers to these questions and more.

Keep in mind that financials aren’t always clear-cut, as many components factor into the final cost of solar panels. The only way to know for sure how much solar would cost for your home is to compare free quotes from solar companies near you. You can get started by using this tool or filling out the form below.

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 $10,878 after the federal solar tax credit is applied.

Of course, 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

5kW

$14,700

$10,878

6kW

$17,640

$13,054

7kW

$20,580

$15,229

8kW

$23,520

$17,405

9kW

$26,460

$19,580

10kW

$29,400

$21,756

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.

What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in Massachusetts?

One reason it’s helpful to engage with an expert or consultant is that there are many factors that can and do influence the final cost of a solar system in Massachusetts. Solar energy system installation is not simply an off-the-shelf purchase that comes with a single price point. Rather, it’s a personalized and customized project that can see costs fluctuate higher or lower based on any of the following factors:

Solar Equipment

To start off, not all solar installations are built the same, and a key driving factor influencing the cost of your solar panels is the solar equipment chosen. This can be as straightforward as whether the project uses top-of-the-line, highly resilient, highly efficient solar PV panels (which will be more expensive) or if it uses the most basic and affordable solar panels.

In addition to that, though, solar systems feature various other types of equipment that can come with a range of price points. These types of equipment include the racking and hardware used to secure the panels to the rooftop, the digital technologies and software tools utilized to maximize the productivity of the panels, and any advanced mechanisms like solar tracking technology that include added costs.

Solar Financing

How you choose to pay for your panels will also influence total costs. For most installations, paying in cash will give you the quickest (and highest) return on your investment. However, with system costs that readily exceed $10,000, not all homes or businesses will be able to pay upfront. In such cases, solar financing options come into play, often with added costs.

If taking out a solar loan, the terms of that loan agreement will influence the exact amount of money paid when all is said and done. The longer that is needed to pay back the loan, the greater the interest will be accrued and the more the total costs will end up being.

Another option for those who don’t want to take out a loan is leasing the solar panels or engaging in a power purchase agreement (PPA). With either of these options, the homeowner doesn’t actually own the solar panels, so they don’t have to pay to have them installed. Your solar company will handle installation costs, and you’ll simply pay for the power the system produces.

Solar leases and PPAs are not recommended for homeowners who are looking to save money by switching to solar. Although your monthly electric bills may be slightly lower, you won’t be able to claim the federal tax credit, and there’s no “break-even” point after which you no longer have to pay for the energy you use.

Installation Company

Lastly, solar projects are significant undertakings, and like any home construction project, the final cost will inevitably depend on the company chosen to perform the installation. Anyone seeking to price out what solar panels will cost them should do their homework to get quotes and terms from multiple solar installers, as each company will have its own rates (which may or may not directly vary based on the quality of the work done).

Further, solar installation companies may be local in footprint or they may be broader national installers. While the national companies can better compete based on scale, many local installers in Massachusetts will end up offering lower prices or special deals to help them compete with larger companies.

Massachusetts Solar 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 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 26% 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. To connect with a top solar installer near you, you can use this tool or fill out the quick form below.

FAQ: Cost of Solar Panels in Massachusetts

Is it worth going solar in Massachusetts?

One reason solar energy has become so popular in Massachusetts is that it provides a great return on investment for homeowners. While the upfront cost of solar panels in Massachusetts can be a barrier to entry, virtually all projects (except solar leases or PPAs) have a payback period of less than a decade. If you can afford the installation costs, then yes, it is worth going solar in Massachusetts.

How much does it cost to install solar panels in Massachusetts?

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 the federal solar tax credit) of about $10,878.

Are solar panels free in Massachusetts?

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.

Do solar panels increase home value in Massachusetts?

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.
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