One of the best simple solar steps you can take to stop further climate change is to reduce your use of fossil fuels. Installing solar panels is a great way to move from fossil to renewable energy. The decision to do this can be daunting, but the following are some tips and a process to use when considering solar.

Most of the panels you see on rooftops are called photovoltaic (PV) cells, which produce electricity. They work well in Massachusetts, as indicated on the maps below. These generate electricity for your home and integrate back to the electrical grid to feed electricity back through an inverter. You can also employ a large battery to store power when there is no sun. These batteries can serve as an alternative to a generator.


There is a lot to consider financially. The initial cost of a system is offset in Massachusetts by a $1,000 tax credit. Plus, there is a 26 percent tax rebate incentive from the federal government. If a quote starts at $35,000, it will net at $24,900 after these incentives. Systems can be purchased or leased. If you purchase the system, you enjoy income from electricity that is sent back to the grid.

The incentives establish a payment value at the time of system interconnection that remains constant over a 10- or 20-year period. This eliminates the uncertainty of the incentive value of prior programs. Knowing the incentive value in advance makes it easier for solar customers to determine the cost and payoff time frame for their system. Solar systems rated 25 kW and above are eligible for the 20-year payout. At or below 25-kW solar systems are eligible for the 10-year payout. For an average home you will not pay electric bills over the life of the PV array (10 to 15 years), saving some $51,000 in electric bills. Plus, it will produce approximately $7,500 through an electricity program.

Return on Investment

Typically, with a purchase, you are looking at a six to eight-year payback, at which point you start earning money. This creates a 13-plus percent gain on your investment. That is if you buy panels outright. Alternatives are that you can take low-interest loans, or you can lease the panels. There are programs where you have no initial money out of pocket for loans or leases, which have different paybacks. All of these options are spelled out on our quotes. Visit our Solar Panel Financing page and Tax Credit page to learn more.