Is a solar installation now essentially free to most of us in Cape Ann? Yes, it is, and that may seem too good to be true. But in this case it is a fact! Massachusetts has announced a new loan program to help moderate-income homeowners install solar panels, so that all may benefit from solar and support our state and national need to move to clean energy. This program is called the Mass Solar Loan.
The new Mass Solar Loan program:
- Connects homeowners, even those with lower credit ratings, with specific lenders who have agreed to Mass Solar Loan terms. These terms include a 3.25% maximum fixed interest rate for loans with a 10-year repayment period. This interest rate is considerably lower than most other solar loans.
- For retirees or moderate-income homeowners, the Mass Solar Loan has an additional “income-based loan support” component. The Mass Solar Loan program will actually buy down from 20% to 30% of a solar loan for eligible homeowners with incomes below $80,240. This loan support could save you thousands of dollars on a solar system and give you the chance to start saving money right away.
The Mass Solar Loan program joins a long list of existing solar incentives for homeowners including:
- an unlimited 30% federal tax credit
- a 15% state tax credit up to $1,000,
- 10 years of additional payments from the state (called SRECs) for the power your system generates.
- Massachusetts has also designed and encouraged “Solarize Mass” community programs such as our community-run Gloucester Solar Challenge which provides a low discounted purchase price to Cape Ann residents by a our carefully-selected solar installer.
These incentives make buying rather than leasing them the most financially advantageous way to go solar.
An Example: Assume your house has a sunny south-facing roof and you use about 500 kilowatt-hours of electricity each month. (Check out your electric bill to see how much you use each year). If you install a 5.5-kilowatt system (about 21 solar panels) at the low Gloucester Solar Challenge price of $3.30 per watt, your system’s total cost is $18,150. Your federal tax credit is $5,445 and your state tax credit is $1,000 reducing your cost to $11,705 which is what you would borrow from a qualified lender in the Mass Solar Loan program.
And if the current SREC II program is continued, your 5.5 kW system will produce 5.5 SRECs per year for 10 years. You will receive approximately $1,375 each year for 10 years totaling $13,750 which is more than your loan! Official notification of this extension should be announced soon.
If your household income is less than $60,866, the state will pay for 30% of your loan up front. This amounts to $3,511, making your loan even smaller at $8,193. Your lender will calculate your monthly payments but using an online loan calculator, we come up with roughly $80 per month. If your solar system produces all of your electricity, you save $100 per month, which is more than enough to cover your loan payments. This is in addition to the SRECs you receive.
It’s easy to get started and you will not be disappointed.
- Schedule a free no-obligation consultation with a reliable solar installer, of the many available. The Gloucester Solar Challenge recommends its installer partner, Direct Energy Solar. You can sign up online at gloucestersolarchallenge.com or call (800)903-6130 to speak directly with a Direct Energy Solar representative.
- After you decide to go solar and sign a contract, go to MassSolarLoan.com to apply for the program. Your installer will need to enter some information about your system and you will be notified when you are accepted by the program.
- Contact one of the lenders in the program to arrange your loan. You can call their hot line at (617)712 -1121 for personal assistance.
- Close your loan and tell your installer that it’s time to install your system. Then enjoy 25 years of free electricity from the sun!
Our next workshop is April 9th from 1 to 3pm at the Sawyer Library, 2 Dale Avenue in Gloucester.
TownGreen2025 is proud to be able to help you find ways to lower your costs and your carbon footprint, as we make our way towards a cleaner energy future for the earth and our grandchildren!
Susan Hoague, Gloucester Solar Challenge Coach ( Questions? contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 978-283-2586