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Essex County, MA | Solar Energy

Installing Solar Panels in Essex County, Massachusetts: Costs, Incentives & More

Key Details

  • The average solar panel cost in Essex county is $2.98/watt.
  • Installing a 5-kWh PV system costs an average of $14,700.
  • The payback period for solar panels is five to nine years on average.
  • Factors that determine the price of a solar panel include type of panel, brand/equipment, levelized cost of energy, price per watt, and installation company.
  • Incentives available for solar energy users in Essex County include SMART Program, net metering, Federal Tax Credit, Massachusetts Personal Income Tax Credit, Massachusetts Sales Tax Exemption and Massachusetts Property Tax Exemption.

How Much do Solar Panels Cost in Essex County, MA?

Solar panels are more affordable than they were a decade ago. As of 2023, solar panels range from $2.5 to $4 per watt in Essex County, MA. The exact cost is dependent on different factors, including the PV installation company..

Residents in Essex County pay an average of $14,700 for the installation of a 5-Kwh PV system. However, the overall cost is lower when the user takes advantage of the federal tax credit and other solar incentives in Massachusetts.

Estimated cost of installing PV systems in Essex County, MA.

Energy System Size Solar Panel Cost Cost After Credit
5kW $14,700 $10,290
6kW $17,640 $12,348
7kW $20,580 $14,406
8kW $23,520 $16,464
9kW $26,460 $18,522
10kW $29,400 $20,580

How Long Does it Take for Solar Panels to Pay for themselves in Essex County?

It takes five to nine years for solar panels to pay for themselves in Essex County. Still, the time frame could be longer or shorter depending on how much the system costs and how much energy it produces.

The solar panel payback period is the amount of time it takes for the savings on your energy bill to cover the cost of a PV system.

Consider this scenario.

A 5 kWh PV system costs $14,700 in Essex County. However, after the federal tax credit, the actual cost is $10,290.

If your PV system saves $1,700 in electricity bills yearly, it’ll take six years for the solar panel to pay for itself.

Solar panel periods rarely exceed 12.5 years. PV systems are built to last 25 years, so a payback system with a system life of less than 12.5 years is an appealing option.

How Do I Calculate a Solar Payback Period in Essex County, MA?

To accurately calculate the solar payback period of an energy system in Essex County, you need to consider the following steps: \

Step 1. Determine the electricity usage

Step 2. Calculate annual solar savings

Step 3. Determine the solar payback period

Step 4. Determine your electricity usage

The first step to figuring out the solar panel payback period is calculating your electricity usage per year..

For example, John’s home uses 8,000 kWh of electricity a year. According to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, a 1kW solar panel in Essex County, MA will generate 1,200 kWh per year.

So, you will need a 7 kWh PV system to generate 8,000 kWh per year.

Next, calculate the cost of installing the PV system after considering solar incentives. As of 2022, a PV system installation will cost $20,580. When tax credits and other state incentives are taken into account, the total cost may go down to $14,406 or less.

Massachusetts grants a $1,000 solar rebate for installed systems. So, you will end up with a figure of less than $13,000.

Calculating your annual solar savings

Massachusetts’s net-metering rule allows solar energy users to earn credit from utility companies. You can use the net-metering system to calculate your annual solar savings.

To do this, figure out how much you save each year on solar energy. Start by multiplying the solar output by how much the utility company charges per kilowatt-hour.

For example, an 8,000 kWh PV system * 24 kWh = 1,920 in annual solar savings.

Determine the solar panel payback period

Now, this is quite easy. You know that the PV system will save you up to $1,920 per year. So, calculate the payback period by dividing the net cost of solar installation by the annual solar savings. This means it will take four years for an 8,000 kWh solar system to pay itself back.

What Determines the Cost of Solar Panels in Essex County, Massachusetts?

Multiple factors determine the price of a solar panel in Essex County, Massachusetts. Some of these include

  • Type of Panel
  • Brand of Panel and Solar Equipment
  • Levelized Cost of Energy
  • Price Per Watt
  • Installation Company

The type of solar panel

It may sound cliche, but not all solar panels are the same. An important criterion is the type of solar panel and how well it can use the sun's energy. For example, a monocrystalline solar panel-the more energy-efficient option-costs $1.0 to 1.5 per watt.

On the other hand, the polycrystalline mode, which is less energy-efficient, is considerably cheaper at $0.9 to $1.0 per watt. Although the price difference in watts seems negligible, the difference in kilowatts is much larger.

Brand of Panel and Solar Equipment

What type of solar panel and equipment will you implement? Most of the time, the amount of sunlight will determine the brand and type of solar equipment you will use.

Since Essex County, Massachusetts receives 197 days of full sunlight, solar energy users may add battery units to their purchases.

Levelized Cost of Energy

The Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) also determines the cost of a solar panel in Essex County . The LCOE is a way to figure out how much energy a solar system will make over its whole life. This means that the higher the LCOE, the more expensive the solar panel.

Some solar panel providers in Essex County may provide the LCOE figure for residents in Essex County. If not available, you can calculate the LCOE by multiplying the lifespan of the solar panel by the net cost of installation.

Price by Watt

The price by watt is also another measure to determine the cost of a solar panel in Essex County, MA. This measure covers the total cost of installation, which includes taxes, fees for permits and licenses, and other costs. You can calculate the price per watt by dividing the net cost of installation by the energy output. So, a 10,000 kWh solar system with a $20,920 net installation cost is approximately $2.2 per watt.

Installation Company

Solar installation companies in Essex County may charge different rates for installing PV systems. Some may charge more for a premium or more efficient brands. On the other hand, some companies may charge $0 as an upfront fee.

What are the Incentives for Solar energy in Essex County, Massachusetts?

Essex County solar energy users are eligible to receive multiple incentives for solar energy, some of which include:

  • Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program
  • NET Metering
  • The Federal Solar Tax Credit
  • Massachusetts Personal Income Tax Credit
  • Massachusetts Property Tax Exemption
  • Solar Loan programs

Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program

The SMART program pays solar energy users connected to one of the three investor-owned utility companies in Massachusetts—Eversource, Unitil, and National Grid. In simple terms, you earn money for every kilowatt your solar panel generates.

The SMART program may pay solar energy users in the form of energy credits. These credits may be redeemed for electricity when the solar output falls during winter or on days with low sunlight intensity.

With the SMART program, residential solar panel owners receive payment for ten years, while commercial solar panel owners earn the credit for 20 years. Keep in mind that your energy credit may increase or decrease with time.

In addition, property owners receive high credit if they're one of the first users to receive a block. Essex County solar users may receive up to $0.33 per kilowatt/hour

NET Metering

The Massachusetts net metering system enables users to sell off excess solar power to utility companies. Unlike the SMART program, this is a long-term solar incentive. Through this system, the utility companies will buy excess solar energy from users. Users in Essex County will receive energy credits in this transaction.

The Federal Solar Tax Credit

The federal government implemented the FTC in a bid to encourage residents to adopt solar energy. Users who install solar panels will receive 30% of all costs incurred. Although the FTC was previously set at 26%, the government increased it from August 2022 to August 2032.

Massachusetts Personal Income Tax Credit

In addition to the FTC, the state government will refund 15% of the total cost of installing solar panels. The state personal income tax credit has a maximum limit of $1,000. Commercial solar panel owners in Essex County are not eligible for this incentive.

Massachusetts Sales Tax Exemption

This incentive removes all taxes on solar equipment purchased for residences in Essex County and other parts of the state.

Massachusetts Property Tax Exemption

Under this incentive, residents in Essex County and other parts of the state don’t need to pay taxes on real estate value added to a property by the solar energy system.

You can check with the office of the local tax assessor to see if you qualify for the exemption. The Essex County Assessor's Office is located at:

30 Martin Street

Essex, MA 01929

Phone: (978) 768-7831

How can I Sell Solar Energy in Essex County, Massachusetts?

Through the net metering program, homeowners in Essex County can sell any extra solar power to a utility company. In simple terms, net metering is the difference between your solar panel output and the electricity received from a utility company.

Solar users under the net metering scheme are classified into three classes: Class I, II, and III, based on their solar panel output.

The Class I group is a renewable energy source with a capacity to produce less than 60 kWh. In contrast, the Class II and III groups cover energy sources that produce over 60 KWh but less than 2 MW.

To qualify for net metering in Essex County, residents must meet these criteria:

  • They must be connected to an electricity company in Essex County.
  • Applicants must have fulfilled all the utility company's criteria before installing a solar panel or any renewable energy source.
  • Property owners must send an application for a cap allocation to MassACA.

What are the Best Solar Energy Companies in Essex County, Massachusetts?

The following are some of the top solar companies in Essex County, Massachusetts in terms of financing options, ease of installation, and customer care service.

ACE Solar

ACE Solar has a good reputation in Essex County for selling, designing, and setting up solar equipment. Since it started in 2005, the company has sent more than 300,000 kilowatts of electricity to homes and businesses in the state. It also provides different financing options, which may include power purchase agreements (PPAs), loans, and leasing options.

CS Energy

CS Energy is one of the first solar companies in the New England area. It has over 15 years of experience in providing solar energy solutions to residences. As of 2022, CS Energy has provided over 1.5 gigawatts of solar panels. Although it mainly caters to utility companies, homeowners can also sign up with the company.

CS Energy gives customers access to financing options and other services, such as a mobile app that lets them keep an eye on their solar panels. The company also offers regular audits to check how well the units are using energy.

Trinity Solar

Trinity Solar has been in the solar industry far longer than others on this list. Trinity Solar has been in business for more than 30 years and has installed more than 80,000 solar panels for businesses and homes in Essex County and Massachusetts. This solar company designs, installs, and provides advice on the best financing options and rebates for solar users. There are also referral bonuses when you refer others to sign up with the company.


Sunrun has the most user-friendly offer for Essex County residents. Sunrun is a great choice for homeowners because it offers financing options and takes care of all solar equipment for free.

Thanks to Sunrun's partnership with LG, solar users can get great deals on solar batteries. The Sunrun's "bumper-to-bumper" system offers free replacements for all faulty solar equipment. Note that this offer lasts for 10 years after installation.

Momentum Solar

Momentum Solar has an impressive beginner-friendly operation. New solar users will enjoy the company's user-friendly tools, which include a mobile app and an in-depth tutorial. It will also assist users with signing up for solar incentives like loan programs and state government rebates.

Do You Need a Handyman or a Solar Installer in Essex County?

Yes. The U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy recommends that installations be done by a professional. There are a lot of county and state regulations about installing a solar panel.

In addition to this, you need to set it up according to guidelines from utility companies and to qualify for net metering. So, it's better to avoid mistakes by employing a professional to install it.

Keep in mind that most solar companies provide installation services. Solar panels and installations are still an uncharted territory for most.

What Solar Financing Options are Available to Me in Essex County, MA?

The solar industry has one of the most flexible and diverse financial options. Some of the common solar financing options in Essex County, MA include.

  • Upfront cash payments
  • Solar loans
  • Solar leases

Upfront cash payment for solar panels

Owners of solar panels may choose to pay cash for their units up front. With this option, users do not need to worry about rising costs due to inflation.

What is a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)?

PPAs are financial agreements between a host customer and a solar company or a third-party developer. In this transaction, the solar company or developer installs a PV system on the customer's property. The customers will pay for a reduced electricity rate through a PPA. On the other hand, the service provider gets valuable financial benefits like tax credits and steady income from selling solar energy.

What are solar loans?

Solar loans are an alternative option for those who can't afford to pay the cost of installation all at once. Solar companies in Essex County will offer these options and allow users to spread payments over a set timeframe. When considering this option, always watch out for the interest rates and extra fees.

What are solar leases?

Solar customers can rent their panels instead of buying them with cash or a loan. This option enables users to make fixed payments for using solar panels. Solar companies like Sunrun and ACE Solar allow homeowners to lease solar panels.

Do Solar Panels Increase a Home Value in Essex County?

Yes. Solar energy increases the value and desirability of homes with an installed solar panel. According to a study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, homeowners can receive as much as $5,911 for each kilowatt of solar power installed. In most cases, the added value is almost equal to the cost of installing the solar unit.

Keep in mind that not all solar panel owners will receive the same resale value. The geographical location, the local cost of installation, and system age may increase or decrease the added value from solar panels.

Are Solar Panels Exempt from Property Taxes in Essex County?

Yes. Essex County does not charge property tax on installed units. Under the MA Renewable Energy Tax Exemption, Essex County homeowners with installed solar panels are exempt from paying local property tax for 20 years.

How to Find Solar Companies Near Me in Essex County, Massachusetts?

Residents of Essex County can find the best solar company near them by following these steps:

Step 1: Create a list of solar companies in Essex County

Proximity to your location is the first thing you need to consider during this process. You may conduct a Google or Bing search using the keyword "solar companies in Essex County, MA" or "solar companies near me." Write down the names of these companies and proceed to the best

Step 2: Look for solar companies that are certified and licensed.

The next step is to search for solar companies with the right licenses and certifications. Solar companies often have the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) certification.

Step 3:Word-of-mouth recommendations and online reviews

Visit review sites like Yelp, Google Reviews, and the Better Business Bureau to find trustworthy opinions about these companies. Tick out companies with an overwhelming percentage of negative reviews. Then ask your local electrician, friends and family who have installed solar panels. Ask questions about the service quality and financing options.

Step 4: Contact your preferred Essex County solar company.

Reach out to the company's customer care support and ask questions about the solar panel quality, ease of use, financing options, and mobile apps for assistance.

What Energy Companies Offer Solar Rebates in Essex County, Massachusetts?

SunPower works with LG to give solar rebates of up to $1000 to people in Essex County.

How Does Solar Energy Benefit Essex County, Massachusetts

For Essex County residents, solar energy is an alternative and better power source for so many reasons, including:

Solar energy is considerably cheap

How cheap is solar? To understand this, let’s explore the current electricity cost. Essex residents pay at least 13% more for electricity than the national average of $2,519 per year.

It costs an average of $238 per month and $2,856 per annum to power a small household. This means residents may pay upwards of $92,810 in 25 years when they factor in rising energy costs and inflation.

On the other hand, solar energy is far cheaper and offers a better return on investment. In addition, solar users can get refunds and kickbacks from federal and state agencies.

For example, if you install a solar panel, you will receive a 30% refund in the form of a Federal Tax Credit. If a 5 KW solar system costs $17,350, then users will receive $4,511 as a refund under the FTC. There are also state incentives to drive down the cost.

Solar is environmentally friendly

The Mountain state consumes 17 times more energy than it produces. This means the state will rely more on fossil fuel sources, which contribute to environmental issues like global warming. However, installing solar energy in Essex County, Massachusetts, will reduce the overall carbon footprint.

According to research, a typical solar panel system will save up to 900 kg of CO2 in a year. It is also less toxic to the environment in comparison to nuclear and coal fossil fuels.

Solar panel system boosts the real estate value

A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy via the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory revealed this fact. According to the study, solar panel systems may increase a home's value by $15,000.

Furthermore, your home's value increases by at least 20 percent for every dollar saved in reducing energy costs. An Essex County home may increase by 20,000 if it saves $600 in energy cost.