Solar power has become increasingly popular in recent years, and Massachusetts is doing its part to contribute to the solar revolution – the Bay State has the number six spot on the Solar Energy Industries Association’s top 10 states for solar power. The major motivator: high electricity prices and some of the best financial incentives for solar in the country. The average Massachusetts homeowner can save tens of thousands of dollars on their electricity bills over the lifetime of their solar energy system.
How are Worcester solar panels different than solar in Boston?
The financial benefits of solar panels – a major indicator of solar interest across the United States – are virtually identical in Boston and in Worcester. According to EnergySage marketplace data, the cost of installing a solar energy system is the same in both cities, and the available financial incentives are equally beneficial to residents in Boston and in Worcester – a standard six-kilowatt (kW) system will cost around $16,000 after the federal solar tax credit and the Massachusetts state tax credit for solar panels.
That means that the long-term solar panels savings are also comparable, a fact that bears out when we take a look at the 20-year savings offered in quotes to homeowners in each city. Residents can save $40,000+ on their electricity costs when they go solar in Boston, and the savings are the same or even higher in the example quote we see from Worcester.
The density of the two cities surely has some effect on overall interest – the Boston metro area is nearly three times as dense as Worcester. Towns and cities in the greater Boston area have also been host to a series of Solarize programs, which works with local residents to increase awareness of solar and provides bulk discounts to homeowners who purchase their solar panel systems through the program. Cambridge and Melrose are two examples of cities that have run programs through EnergySage, and the impact on local resident interest is clear on the map.
Income disparities may also explain some of the difference. The median income in the Boston metro area was $75,667 in 2014, significantly higher than both the state median income ($69,160) and the median income for Worcester ($64,556). Though installing solar has significant long-term financial benefits, investing in a solar energy system often requires up-front capital, which can be a barrier for some homeowners.
The good news: financing your solar panel system with a solar loan is easier than ever, thanks to the Mass Solar Loan program. The program offers the lowest interest rates for solar loans in the state, and has additional incentives in place that offer financial support for low-income homeowners. Most loans require no money down, and monthly payments are often lower than an electricity bill, meaning that homeowners instantly start to enjoy savings thanks to their Massachusetts solar panels.
Even better: Worcester homeowners shopping for solar on EnergySage actually receive more offers on average than Boston solar shoppers. Worcester solar panels may not have a Solarize or other bulk discount program, but by comparing multiple offers from solar installers competing for your business, shoppers in the Worcester area can access similarly good discounts. Registering your property on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace is an easy way to start comparing offers from local Worcester solar installers.
Three Tips for Solar Shoppers
When it comes to solar quotes, the more the merrier
As with any big ticket purchase, shopping for a solar panel installation is a long process that will include a lot of research and consideration. Amidst that research process should be a thorough review of every option available to you and every company that serves your area. Of course, in order to find the smaller contractors that cannot afford to put up billboard ads or run TV commercials across your state, you’ll need to use an installer network like EnergySage. If you’d like to get some free quotes from vetted installers in your state or even town, register your property on our Solar Marketplace – homeowners who get 3 or more quotes can expect to save $5,000 to $10,000 on their solar panel installation.
The biggest installer will not always offer the best price
The bigger isn’t always better mantra is one of the main reasons we strongly encourage homeowners to consider all of their solar options, not just the brands large enough to pay for the most advertising. In residential solar, a few big companies control more than half of the overall market share, and their business model is built on the assumption that homeowners won’t bother looking at all of their options. On the contrary, small installers on EnergySage are aware that they are competing for your business and thus offer lower quotes. If you have offers from some of the big installers in solar, make sure you compare those bids with quotes from local installers in your area to ensure you don’t overpay for solar.
Comparing all your equipment options is just as important
Just as large installers will not need to offer lower prices because of the nature of reduced competition, they are also unlikely to offer a variety of solar equipment options – they may just offer one brand of solar panel and inverter. For this reason, it is equally as important to get a diverse array of solar bids so you can compare costs and savings based on the different equipment packages available to you.
Certain panels will have much higher efficiency ratings than others. Depending on where you live and the roof you have, you may or may not need to pay more for top-notch solar equipment. There are multiple variables to consider when seeking out the best solar panels on the market. Your roof may best suit an economy solar panel – the only way to find out is to look at quotes that have varying equipment and financing offers.