Save with solar in Framingham, Massachusetts

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Framingham, Massachusetts

Framingham has been ranked among the best places to live in the US by CNN Money, and currently has a population of nearly 70,000. The city dates back to 1647 and was established on the Old Connecticut Path, one of the main trails used by Native Americans at that time.

Framingham has no shortage of historic places, including the First Baptist Church which was built in the early 19th century. Historic districts in Framingham include Concord Square, the Framingham Centre, and Irving Square. The city is also home to some of the oldest waterworks facilities in the country, which were key in providing a reliable water supply for Boston in its early days. Most of these facilities are no longer operational, or used only as an emergency water supply, but have been preserved as part of the historic legacy of Framingham.

Today, Framingham has taken significant steps to become more environmentally friendly. Solar power has experienced significant growth in Framingham over recent years. Many local companies have deployed large solar panel systems for their buildings:

  • Staples Inc. has a 685-kilowatt (kW) solar panel system at its headquarters in Framingham. The installation covers an area of over 650,000 square feet.
  • Bose, a leading manufacturer of audio equipment, is also headquartered in Framingham and has deployed a 1.8-megawatt (MW) solar panel system. The array uses 4,260 solar panels, each with a rated output of 435 watts.
  • Shoppers World, one of the largest local malls, has a solar panel system that can generate 1.672 megawatts at peak output.

A solid Renewable Portfolio Standard has been key in driving clean energy adoption in Framingham and Massachusetts in general. Local utilities are required to obtain 25% of their energy from clean sources by 2030, and 1,600 MW of solar panel systems must be brought online by 2020.

Is Solar Power a Good Investment in Framingham, MA?

Residents of Framingham are served by NSTAR, now part of Eversource, and the local electricity rates are among the highest in the nation. The average US household pays around 12 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), but peak electricity rates in Framingham exceed 20 cents per kWh, which is 66% higher. These rates will only continue to rise; Eversource customers saw their power bills increase by 10% between 2016 and 2017.

Solar panel owners in Framingham are eligible to accumulate Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) at a rate of one SREC per 1,000 kWh, and these SRECs can be sold for around $270 each. This is in addition to the $200 of energy savings per 1,000 kWh of solar produced. Thus, generating 1,000 kWh of solar energy gives you a total economic benefit of over $470 (when combining SRECs sales with the corresponding energy savings).

In addition to energy savings and SREC sales, local authorities have lifted the tax burden on solar panels, making them more affordable:

  • There is no sales tax for solar panel systems.
  • Although your home value tends to increase by $20,000 to $30,000 after installing solar panels, you are not subject to a property tax hike.
  • You can claim 15% of your solar power expenses as a credit against the state tax burden (up to $1,000), and you can claim 30% of the cost of your solar system as a federal tax credit.

When you add all the solar power benefits available to residents of Framingham, solar energy is an attractive investment. In Framingham, a solar panel system can represent an investment with an internal rate of return exceeding 25%! If you cannot afford to pay for a solar system upfront, there are many loan options with zero money down for those who qualify.