Save with solar in Fitchburg, Massachusetts

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Fitchburg, Massachusetts

With a population of over 40,000, Fitchburg is the third-largest city in Worcester County. It was originally part of Lunenburg, which was incorporated in 1728, before becoming an independent town in 1764. The name of the city comes from John Fitch, a prominent politician from the 18th century. Thanks to its location on the Nashua River, Fitchburg was a successful industrial center in the 19th century. Using the plentiful hydroelectric power provided by the Nashua River, paper milling became a pillar of the local economy. Like many former milling towns in Massachusetts, Fitchburg is rich in Victorian architecture, and many iconic buildings have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Recently, Fitchburg has expanded its renewable energy generation profile from hydroelectric to solar. The solar power industry has grown significantly in Fitchburg in recent years due in large part to the high electricity rates provided by Unitil Energy, the local utility company. Some of the most recent projects include:

  • Reingold Elementary School and Memorial Middle School have been equipped with rooftop-mounted solar panel systems, with a total installed capacity of 603 kilowatts (kW).
  • The former industrial site of the Anwelt Shoe Company was converted into a mixed-use residential and commercial complex, equipped with a 147-kW solar panel system and a geothermal heating and cooling system.
  • Bicycle paths in Fitchburg are being equipped with solar-powered LED lights, which improve safety while reducing the city’s lighting expenses.

Is Solar Power a Good Investment in Fitchburg, MA?

Unitil Energy, the utility company providing electric power to Fitchburg, charges the highest electricity rates in the state of Massachusetts. On average, Unitil customers pay 23 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), and electricity rates increased by nearly 9% between 2016 and 2017. With high electricity rates, residents of Fitchburg have started to install solar panels to save money of their electric bills.

However, energy savings are not the only economic benefits of installing solar panels if you live in Massachusetts. There is also an active market for Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). For every 1,000 kWh generated by your solar panels, you are are awarded one SREC, and as of mid-2017, each SREC sells for around $270. This means that for every 1,000 kWh of solar electricity generated by your solar panel system, you save $230 in power bills and earn $270 for selling one SREC. This means that the total economic benefit of generating electricity with your solar panel system is $0.50 per kWh!

In addition to the sizable economic benefit from energy savings and SREC sales, you also get various tax incentives that make solar panels more affordable:

  • Solar Investment Tax Credit: All solar panel systems installed before the end of 2019 are eligible for a tax credit equivalent to 30% of the cost of your solar panel system. This incentive applies for both homes and businesses.
  • State Tax Credit: When you install a solar panel in Fitchburg, you can deduct 15% of its cost from your state taxes, up to $1,000.
  • Sales Tax Exemption: Solar panels are exempt from sales taxes, which represents an immediate upfront savings on your solar panel system.
  • Property Tax Hike Exemption: Even though a solar panel system typically increases home value by $20,000 or more, your property taxes stay the same.

Paying for a solar panel system upfront can be expensive, but there are many financing options available. If you have access to a loan with favorable terms, you can install solar panels in Fitchburg at zero upfront cost and start savings with solar from the very first day. The combined cash flow from energy savings, SREC sales, and tax credits is so high that it can cover your solar loan payments and save you money from the first day your solar panel starts operating. Installing solar panels is an excellent investment in Fitchburg, MA!