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Incentives and Programs
Residents and business owners can benefit from a number of programs aimed at making solar electricity more affordable to install, including state and federal tax credits. Below is a quick breakdown of incentives currently available for installing residential solar electric systems. For information on commercial solar incentives, see our Commercial Solar Hub. More information on incentives for clean energy projects can be found at the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE).
The GW Solar Institute video Will Solar Panels Save You Money? provides an overview of considerations for homeowners in determining whether solar makes financial sense, including common incentives across states nationwide. Note the solar installer will generally assist customers in applying for and/or providing information on available incentives.
Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit - A credit of up to 30 percent of qualifying project costs
Massachusetts Personal Income Tax Credit - A credit of $1,000 or 15 percent of qualifying project costs, whichever is less
Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program - A production-based incentive that is paid directly by investor-owned electric utilities in Massachusetts to solar electric system owners. SMART was launched by the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) in conjuction with participating investor-owned utilities. The selected Solar Program Administrator, CLEAResult, intakes and processes applications. Typical residential systems are eligible to participate for 10 years and will receive incentive payments monthly via checks or electronic payments. Please see the DOER SMART website and the program administrators SMART website for more information and a downloadable calculator to estimate SMART project incentives.
Net Metering - Allows customers to receive credits on their utility bill for exess generation in any given month. The credits can then be applied during times when the system is not generating electricity. Net metering credit values depend on a number of factors, including system size. Residents can learn more about net metering from the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities
Avoided electricity costs - Cost savings from the electricity generated by the solar electric system
Mass Solar Loan - A state-run program connecting homeowners with low-interest loans for solar electric systems, and additional incentives for income qualified customers
Solarize Mass - A group-buying program providing discounts for residents in participating communities
Learn more about incentives for residential systems in MassCEC's Residential Guide to Solar Electricity.