The U.S has witnessed remarkable solar growth over the past decade. Massachusetts is currently ranked 6th in the nation for installed solar, and is currently powering over 260,000 homes in the state with solar power. Over the next five years, the Bay State plans on installing another 2,377 MW of solar. Cities like Worcester benefit from such development and have the added advantage of having below-average solar panel installation costs. In this article we’ll explain why Worcester, Massachusetts is a great spot for solar power and how Worcester homeowners can maximize their solar savings.
How much do solar panels cost in Worcester?
As of mid-2017, the average price for solar panels in Worcester was $3.56 per watt. Thus, since the typical system size in the U.S. is 5 kilowatts (5,000 watts), the average cost of a solar panel system in Worcester is $17,800 before any rebates or incentives.
While this price is low, it is also very competitive for the overall state of Massachusetts. Prices for solar panel systems have dropped by over 64% in Massachusetts over the past 5 years and homeowners are taking notice. Check out this comparison table of Worcester and state pricing for various system sizes:
Solar pricing table: Worcester compared to Massachusetts
|System size||State average cost
| Worcester average cost
The above table, which uses pricing data from solar quotes received by homeowners on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace over the last 12 months, offers a comparison of prices in Massachusetts and Worcester for solar energy systems. As the data illustrates, typical solar prices in Worcester, Massachusetts are significantly lower than the rest of the state.
Massachusetts is an affordable and pragmatic places to install solar. But when you zero in on Worcester’s market and compare it to the rest of the state, the advantage for homeowners is even clearer. The good news for Worcester homeowners is that these low costs do not even incorporate the added benefit of net metering, which is offered throughout the Bay State.
Massachusetts’s net metering and other incentives
Net metering has faced recent legislative battles in Massachusetts but remains one of the biggest incentives for going solar in the state. All MA solar homeowners are eligible to participate in the program, which means that they can receive bill credits from their utility for the excess solar energy that they send back to the grid.
In addition, Massachusetts offers a state tax credit for solar and other renewable energy systems worth 15% of the system cost up to $1,000. This tax credit is in addition to a sales tax and property tax break incentives which ensure 100% tax exemption from both sales and property tax payments for solar homeowners.
Another great solar incentive in Massachusetts is Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), where homeowners can receive payments for their solar energy usage at a peak rate of $496 per megawatt-hour (MWh). In other words, with a typically sized 5 kW system that generates 5 MWh/year, homeowners could make as much as $2500 each year by selling each of those SRECs back to the utility so utilities can reach their Renewable Portfolio Standard goals. This program will end in early 2018, so if you’re a Massachusetts homeowner interested in solar now is the time to explore your options.
Finally, Massachusetts homeowners and businesses have access to low-cost solar financing through the Mass Solar Loan Program. This incentive allows Massachusetts residents to purchase a solar system by making fixed, low-interest loan payments. This financing program is a major reason for solar’s rising popularity in Massachusetts where legislators wanted to incentivize homeowners to get the best value out of their solar panel installation by owning it rather than getting into complex third-party ownership agreements.
How Worcester homeowners can save big with solar
Though Worcester residents are already seeing low solar prices with continued cost declines expected over the next five years, low prices aren’t necessarily the biggest selling point. When it comes to going solar, the long term ROI and savings from avoided bill payments is often the biggest deciding factor – and the figures can be staggering even in states where utility rates are reasonable.
In 2017, solar quotes received by Worcester homeowners yielded 20-year savings estimates of over $79,355 on average. Checkout the breakdown of average net savings by solar system size:
Worcester net 20-year savings from solar
|System size||Average solar savings over 20 years|
Three tips for solar shoppers in Worcester
Homeowners who get multiple quotes save 10% or more
As with any big ticket purchase, shopping for a solar panel installation takes a lot of research and consideration, including a thorough review of the companies in your area. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recommended that consumers compare as many solar options as possible to avoid paying inflated prices offered by the large installers in the solar industry.
To find the smaller contractors that typically offer lower prices, you’ll need to use an installer network like EnergySage. You can receive free quotes from vetted installers local to you when you register your property on our Solar Marketplace – homeowners who get 3 or more quotes can save thousands on their solar panel installation.
The biggest installers typically don’t 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. A recent report by the U.S. government found that large installers are $2,000 to $5,000 more expensive than small solar companies. If you have offers from some of the big installers in solar, make sure you compare those bids with quotes from local installers to ensure you don’t overpay for solar.
Comparing all your equipment options is just as important
National-scale installers don’t just offer higher prices – they also tend to have fewer solar equipment options, which can have a significant impact on your system’s electricity production. By collecting a diverse array of solar bids, you can compare costs and savings based on the different equipment packages available to you.
There are multiple variables to consider when seeking out the best solar panels on the market. While certain panels will have higher efficiency ratings than others, investing in top-of-the-line solar equipment doesn’t always result in higher savings. The only way to find the “sweet spot” for your property is to evaluate quotes with varying equipment and financing offers.
For any Worcester homeowner in the early stage of shopping for solar that would just like a ballpark estimate for an installation, try our Solar Calculator that offers up front cost and long term savings estimates based on your location and roof type. For those looking to get quotes from local contractors today, check out our quote comparison platform.