Newton has a population of over 85,000 and has been consistently ranked among the best places to live and the safest cities in the USA. The city was originally founded as part of Cambridge in 1630 before becoming an independent town in 1688. It was first named Cambridge Village, then Newtown, and finally Newton in 1766.
A suburb of nearby Boston, Newton is composed mostly of residential districts, and the local economy is based on education, healthcare and professional services. Newton is rich in Victorian-era architecture, and there are over 180 landmarks listed in the National Register of Historic Places, many of which are houses built during the 19th century.
Newton has taken a leadership role in the adoption of renewable energy and reduction of its environmental footprint. The municipal government has carried out significant efforts to make Newton greener:
Local electricity rates from Eversource are notoriously high, exceeding 20 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) during peak demand. As a result, a solar panel system can reduce your power bills significantly; for every 1,000 kWh of solar power generated, homeowners in Newton can save over $200 in utility bills. Keep in mind that utility rates are expected to increase year after year – Eversource increased its base rate by 2 cents per kWh between 2016 and 2017, which raised power bills by around 10%.
In addition to saving $200 for every 1,000 kWh generated with solar panels, you are also awarded a Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC). As of 2017, SRECs are being traded for around $270 each. This means that for every 1,000 kWh of solar energy produced by your solar panels you can receive $470 of combined savings and SREC sales.
Newton also offers excellent tax benefits for solar power, including both tax exemptions and tax credits. You can waive the sales tax when purchasing a solar panel system, and you are exempt from an increase in property taxes even though installing solar panels will increase your home value. You can also claim 15% of your investment as a state tax credit, subject to a cap of $1,000. This 15% is in addition to the 30% federal tax credit, which is available nationwide.
The combination of energy bill savings, tax benefits, and SREC sales available to residents of Newton, MA makes solar a great investment. If you have a solid credit record and qualify for a low-interest loan, financing your solar system can be a great way to go solar without paying anything upfront. In many cases, a loan can be fully paid off with energy savings, tax credits and SREC sales.