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Solar Resources

Massachusetts: A Guide to Residential Solar Energy

New England might be in a region of the US less prone to sunlight ‚ but that doesn’t preclude it from being a great place for homeowners to install solar panels. As of the end of 2018, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) ranked the state seventh in the country — nearly 11 percent of the state’s energy comes from solar. Additionally, SEIA ranks Massachusetts 13th in the nation in projecting its growth over the next five years.

The solar panel systems and installation market in Massachusetts has exploded since 2011. Chart via the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Indeed, increased competition in the state since 2011—and the nature of the market on a national scale—means residents are primed for home value increases if they install solar panels in Massachusetts. And when it comes to home value, researchers project the value of a home increases up to $15,000 on average, according to the Berkley Lab, one of the federal government’s national renewable energy laboratories. That doesn’t even take into consideration the massive savings solar paneling affords homeowners—or seasonal price fluctuations that make winter a possibly perfect time for your solar home improvement project.

Like every other state, Massachusetts has a unique set of incentives, benefits, and challenges when it comes to investing in solar panels for houses. Read our residential guide to understand what you should know as a homeowner as you look for the best contractor to install solar panel systems under the sun keeping global educational powerhouses like Harvard and MIT universities enlightened.

A well-informed and reliable contractor will go over each detail of your installation with you, from expected savings to increases in home value. At Modernize, we frequently speak to homeowners about their home improvement projects. In our recent interviews, 90 percent of homeowners requested a checklist to help them find and vet contractors. Modernize now offers homeowners a free, digital Contractor Checklist as a simple, step-by-step guide to assist with your solar panel project.

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Gloucester, MA: Solar Energy Success Stories

Once John Livermore to reduce his carbon print on the planet, he began a journey that would end with his house becoming “the first net-positive retrofitted home in Massachusetts and broadened the possibilities of household energy efficiency.” The massive success he found with his home led him to speak about it around the US.

“The difference in comfort, and energy performance, is phenomenal,” Livermore told Solar Is Workng. “We’ve never experienced such high levels of comfort in any house before … ever. It’s warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.”

Relying on state and federal financial incentives, Livermore lowered his solar system’s cost to less than $10,000. This system, along with other clean energy retrofitting, would come to save Livermore $2,500 a year in utility bills. But it’s not all about the money.

“Now we all breathe fresher air, it’s easy to keep good relative humidity levels in the house, and we get fewer colds and viruses -we’re all healthier,” he said.

Indeed, solar panels have a sizeable effect on utility bills. Massachusetts residents can expect to save nearly close to $17,000 over 20 years. This data serves as guidance for your journey to home improvement. Use it during your conversation with contractors in your area. Ask for this level of detail in your estimates and if jargon or complex wording seems confusing, ask for clarification.

A trusted contractor will be glad for the opportunity to explain what everything means and, more importantly, what it specifically means to you. When it comes to Massachusetts’s solar energy, existing financial incentives (and policy) only make it more lucrative for you to sustainably increase your property value.

Massachusetts Solar Panels: Incentives, Rebates, and Other Savings

There are currently nearly more than 140 incentives for homeowners to increase the value of their property by installing solar panels for houses in Massachusetts. Find details about each program at the state’s Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE).

Solid contractors installing solar panels in Massachusetts will be able to provide a list of applicable costs savings measures and help you navigate applying for and getting the most out of them. Learn enough to have a foundational understanding of these programs to best talk to your contractor about them once you’ve vetted and chosen one.

Residential Renewable Energy Income Tax Credit

Installing solar paneling for homes will increase property value for homeowners who have invested in their houses, and Massachusetts is investing right back in them. Each year, Massachusetts homeowners can get up to a $1,000 credit per residence, available to taxpayers who install solar panels for their houses. More specifically, you get 15 percent back on your purchase in the form of a tax credit, up to $1,000.

Find all the details at DSIRE’s profile for the program.

Residential New Construction Program

Since 2014, home builders could receive up to $4,500 in financial incentives if their constructed home met energy-efficient features that made it “more efficient than the typical home in Massachusetts.”

Find all the details at DSIRE’s profile for the program.

Other Massachusetts-specific solar energy programs include:

Of course, you want to get the most out of local programs as well as federal ones, like the temporary Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, which applies to up to 30 percent of your installation. It is important to note that this federal credit is for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019. Solar Energy International reports that a typical five-kilowatt solar system installation in September 2018 would’ve dropped from $15,428 to $10,800 after the rebate is applied—but keep in mind its value is dropping and the credit could be completely gone by the early 2020s. Consult your contractor about this and other available credits and incentives to ensure your investment in the long-term value of your property is as easy on your current assets as possible.

That’s why you’ll want to find a contractor you can trust—a local professional who can get the job done and assist you with navigating local policy and regulation. The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your solar panel project is in good hands.

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