Save with solar in New Bedford, Massachusetts

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New Bedford, Massachusetts

With a population of nearly 100,000, New Bedford is one of the largest cities in Massachusetts. Due to its importance as a whaling port back in the 19th century, New Bedford is known as “The Whaling City.” In fact, the city has both a museum and a national park dedicated to the whaling industry! New Bedford is rich in history and culture, and is home to populations of Irish, French, Italian and Portuguese descent. Nine districts in New Bedford have been included in the National Register of Historic Places, and the local authorities strive to preserve them.

The municipal government has carried out remarkable efforts to turn New Bedford into a green city, including sizable investments in solar power. The city has reduced its carbon footprint significantly and is now generating over two-thirds of its electricity with renewable sources. Two large solar farms are responsible for a significant portion of this shift to renewable energy:

  • The Tom Davis Solar Project has an installed capacity of 4.1 megawatts (MW), and has been providing clean energy to New Bedford since 2015.
  • In 2014, ten acres of land at the Sullivan’s Ledge landfill were used to install a solar farm with a capacity of 1.8 MW.

The local government has also established the New Bedford Solar Now program, which has the goal of educating energy consumers and helping them secure funding for solar panel systems.

Is Solar Power a Good Investment in New Bedford, MA?

Electricity is very expensive in New Bedford and in Massachusetts in general. As of early 2017, Eversource customers were paying around 20 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Additionally, the base price of electricity in New Bedford is expected to rise by up to 10% before the end of the year. However, this presents a great opportunity for home and business owners to save money on their electric bills by deploying solar panels. Significant savings can be expected immediately, and annual savings will only increase year after year.

In addition to having a high savings potential, a solar panel system in New Bedford allows you to accumulate Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) at a rate of one credit for every 1,000 kWh of solar produced. As of early 2017, these credits are sold for around $270 each! When combining SREC income to the estimated $200 power bill savings, the total economic benefit from every 1,000 kWh of solar energy produced is $470!

In addition to offering an excellent source of extra income through SREC sales, the local government also offers tax incentives for home and business owners who go solar:

  • You are eligible for a state tax credit equivalent to 15% of your investment in solar panels up to $1,000.
  • Solar panels are also fully exempt from taxes: you are not charged a sales tax on your initial purchase, and are exempt from a property tax hike on any increase in home value that is attributable to the solar panel system. (Hint: The value of your home is expected to increase after you add solar panels.)

Keep in mind that these tax benefits are specific to the state of Massachusetts and are in addition to the 30% federal tax credit, which is a nationwide benefit for solar power. If you qualify for a low-interest loan and live in New Bedford, you can easily install a solar panel system at zero upfront cost. The combination of energy savings, SREC sales, and tax benefits is often more than enough to fully pay off the loan in this area.