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Editor: Elizabeth A. Bejoian
The M TA Advantage is published three times a year as
a supplement to MTA Today by MTA Benefits, Inc.
ot weather means more air conditioning
and higher utility bills. Given how hot
the summer of 2016 was, you might be
wondering how to cut down on your electric bill
Homeowners throughout Massachusetts are
finding that solar power offers one way to
decrease reliance on their electricity providers.
Solar power systems are an affordable and
effective way to drastically reduce your utility bill,
increase your home’s value and lessen your impact
on climate change.
If you are new to solar power systems, you are
bound to have questions.
How much will it cost?
Many people wonder if they can afford solar.
Right now, incentives and progressive loan
programs in Massachusetts are some of the best
in the country. A homeowner in Massachusetts
who purchases a solar power system receives a
federal tax credit of 30 percent of the cost of the
system. Massachusetts also has a Solar Renew-
able Energy Certifications program that pays you
money for the energy your solar installation
produces. Over 10 years, SRECs typically pay
between $1,500 and $2,000 per year.
In addition, the new Massachusetts solar loan
program provides a 3. 25 percent 10-year loan that
has an online approval system.
In combination, these programs result in a quick
return on investment for solar customers in
Massachusetts. Some of the incentives are
first-come, first-served, however. The SREC
program has a statewide cap, so when the cap
has been reached, the program will close. Because
solar power is now very popular and many
homeowners are installing it, that cap could be
reached within months.
Buying vs. leasing
One big decision is whether to buy or lease
your system. While leasing may seem attractive
because it usually requires no up-front cost,
electricity savings are usually much lower than if
you owned your system. By leasing your system,
you may also lose out on federal and state solar
incentives. If you buy your solar installation, the
incentives go to you.
Recent research by Consumer Reports determined
that ownership resulted in a much higher rate
of savings. According to the magazine, many
leases “contain an escalator clause that can
further reduce savings by increasing payments
3 percent per year. So if you’re paying 12 cents
per kilowatt-hour in year one, with a 3 percent
escalator, you’ll be paying 18. 2 cents in year 15.”
By owning your system, you are protected from
rate increases because it’s your power coming
off your roof.
Moreover, selling a house with a leased system
can be difficult. Many potential homebuyers do
not want to take over lease payments. Solar
systems are also considered home improvements.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory did
research showing that solar panels can increase
the value of your home by up to $30,000.
Many homeowners wonder if solar is feasible for
them. The answer depends on conditions at your
house. Shade, the direction your roof faces and
your roof’s shape are all factors. The professionals
at American Solar Partners can let you know for
free if solar is feasible for your house.
MTA Benefits has partnered with American Solar
Partners, which uses only American-made solar
panels and union installers. ASP can provide
a free solar assessment and answer any of
Sign up for an assessment online at
or call ASP at 617.945.8054.