Massachusetts solar panels: The complete guide in 2024

Data updated Jun 18, 2024

Written by: Emily Walker

Interested in going solar? You'll need to install a 9.84 kW solar panel system to cover the average electric bill in Massachusetts, which will cost you about $23,522 after the federal tax credit.

Cost for an average system in Massachusetts


Out of pocket cost, cash
$33,603
Federal tax credit (30%)
- $10,081
Price post tax credit
$23,522

20-year savings $96,602
Payback period 6 Years
Electricity offset 96%
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As long as your federal tax bill is high enough, you can take advantage of the federal investment tax credit (ITC).

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Going solar in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is better known for its Nor'easters than its clear, sunny days. But with some of the country's highest electricity prices and really great solar incentives, it makes sense why you see solar panels on so many Massachusetts roofs.

In fact, getting solar panels is one of the easiest ways to cut your electric bills and save thousands over time in Massachusetts. 

Here's what you need to know about going solar in the Bay State.

Cost

How much do solar panels cost in Massachusetts?

Solar panels will save you a lot of money over time, but the upfront costs aren't cheap. The average Massachusetts homeowner needs a 9.84 kW solar panel system to cover their electricity needs, which comes out to $33,603 before incentives. Prices range from $28,563 to $38,643, but after the federal tax credit, that drops by 30%, and Massachusetts also has some great local incentives. 

While this may sound high, it will pay off in Massachusetts. That's why over 54,000 Massachusetts homeowners have used EnergySage to receive and compare quotes for solar installations. You can expect to earn back your initial solar investment through electricity savings in about 6.05 years, while most systems last at least 25 years. You'll often see this number referenced as your solar payback period.

There are a few ways to finance your solar panel system so you don't have to provide all that money upfront. 

  • Cash purchase: You'll own the system and pay for it upfront. This provides the best long-term savings. 

  • Solar loan: This allows you to retain ownership of your system while owing little to no money upfront. Solar loans aren't all created equal. If you have access to subsidized clean energy loans through local incentive programs, that's usually your best bet. A home equity loan or a personal loan are often your next best options—private solar loans typically come with higher interest rates or upfront fees.

  • Solar lease or power purchase agreement (PPA): A third-party company owns your system and either leases you the solar panels (solar lease) or allows you to purchase the electricity they generate (PPA). These generally provide the lowest savings and generate the most negative press about solar. If you choose this financing option, read the fine print: You can get trapped in them for longer than you'd like.

Solar panels on a house

Incentives

What are the best solar rebates and incentives in Massachusetts?

Incentives help bring solar's price tag down considerably in Massachusetts. Here are the major ones to know about:

Incentive
Average savings in Massachusetts
Description

Residential Clean Energy Tax Credit, formerly the federal investment tax credit (ITC)

$10,081

Lowers your solar panel system's cost by 30%

MA Residential Energy Credit

$1,000

Lowers your solar panel system's cost by 15%, or up to $1,000

Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART)

$0 with solar only but could be about $500 annually if you have a battery

Used to pay you a fixed rate per kilowatt hour (kWh) of solar energy, but caps were met. It could be reinstated in the future, but for now, it only really earns you money if you have a battery.

Massachusetts solar sales tax exemption

6.25% of your system's value

You don't need to pay any sales tax on new solar panel systems in Massachusetts, saving at least 6.25% of your system costs.

Massachusetts solar property tax exemption

1.04% of your system's value annually on average

If you use solar energy as a source of power, for 20 years you won't need to pay a tax on the value your solar panels add to your property.

Is net metering available in Massachusetts?

In some states, you'll earn bill credits from your utility company when your solar panel system generates excess electricity and sends it to the grid. This incentive is known as net metering—basically a solar buyback program—and makes it so you will owe very little, or even nothing, on your electric bills with solar panels.

All major utilities in Massachusetts offer net metering, so you should make sure to cash in on it while it's still available. But keep in mind that if a municipality or an electric cooperative supplies your electricity, it's possible you won't have access to net metering. 

Learn more about net metering in Massachusetts or get the details on individual utility programs:

A house with rooftop solar panels connected to the grid

Equipment

Equipment quality

Each year, solar panels get more and more efficient—that is, they produce more power per square foot. As of 2024, the most popular solar panels can produce about 400 watts of electricity when they’re in full sunlight. If you want to make the most of your roof’s solar potential, get panels with at least that much power output.  

You should also make sure to select a solar inverter setup that makes sense for your roof’s layout. 

And if you want or need a solar battery, be sure to pick one that can integrate cleanly with that inverter. 

Premium equipment can come with a high price tag, but it will often save you more money in the long run. The best equipment tends to have the best warranty terms, often guaranteed to 25 years (sometimes even 40!), so you’re covered in case you need repairs or replacements. The highest-quality panels also degrade more slowly, so they’ll maintain more of their power output further into the future. 

See our list of the best solar panels

Companies

Who are the best solar installers in Massachusetts?

We pre-screen all of the solar companies on EnergySage to ensure they'll provide you with a high-quality installation. We then rate them based on their results, reputation, and responsiveness. Here are the highest-rated EnergySage installers in Massachusetts:

resources

Top solar resources for Massachusetts

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