Save with solar in Arlington, Massachusetts

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Arlington, Massachusetts

Located just six miles away from Boston, Arlington, Massachusetts has a population of over 42,000. The economy of Arlington was first based on farming and milling; the Old Schwab Mill, now a historic museum, has been standing since 1861. Although it is no longer a commercial mill, its equipment and power systems are still in working condition.

In recent years, the town has carried out an innovative solar power program for six of its public schools: Arlington High School, Thompson, Stratton, Peirce, Ottoson, and Dallin. The details of the program are as follows:

  • The total capacity of the six arrays exceeds 720 kilowatts (kW).
  • Each school is equipped with a live display of solar panel system performance. The system also displays the environmental benefit in terms of equivalent trees planted, water saved, and fuel saved.
  • All six displays can be accessed through the official Arlington website.

The municipal government has also created the Sustainable Arlington committee, which has the goal of promoting environmental stewardship by proposing energy efficiency and renewable generation measures for the city.

Solar Power in Arlington, MA

Eversource, the utility company serving Arlington, charges more than 20 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Electricity from Eversource is also getting more expensive each year; electricity rates increased by 10% in 2016 alone! However, expensive electricity means home and business owners who switch to solar power can achieve significant savings on their utility bill.

Massachusetts has a large market for Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs), which provides an excellent source of extra income if you install solar panels. Here is how the SREC program works:

  • For every 1,000 kWh of solar electricity generated by your solar panels, you are awarded one SREC.
  • SRECs are awarded based on the amount of energy generated regardless of how it’s used. This means that you can earn an SREC even if you consume the energy produced.
  • As of mid-2017, SRECs sell for around $270 each.

This means that for every 1,000 kWh of solar energy your panels produce, you save about $200 on your power bills and receive an SREC worth $270. This brings the total economic benefit of 1,000 kWh of solar electricity to $470!

In addition to energy bill savings and SREC sales, home and business owners in Arlington can receive many different tax benefits when deploying a solar panel system:

  • You are not billed any sales tax when you purchase the system.
  • Property tax exemption: Even though installing solar panels will increase the value of your home, your property taxes stay the same.
  • State tax credit: You can deduct 15% of your investment in solar power from your taxes, up to a maximum of $1,000.
  • Solar Investment Tax Credit: All solar panel systems installed on residential or commercial properties before the end of 2019 are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit. This benefit can be applied as soon as your next tax declaration is filed.

Keep in mind that the tax credits also apply to solar panel systems that are financed with a loan. This means you can install a solar system for $0 upfront, claim the tax credits, and then use these credits to cover some of your loan payments. If you add in energy savings and SREC sales, you can pay off your solar loan completely, without having to spend any money upfront.