Save with solar in Salem, Massachusetts

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Salem, Massachusetts

Founded back to 1629, Salem is a city rich in historic legacy. Salem has been an important seaport since the colonial era and is considered the birthplace of the US National Guard. Known for the witch trials of 1692, many of the local schools, athletic teams, and tourism businesses use witchcraft themes for their names. The city draws more than a million tourists each year, especially around Halloween.

While tourism remains a significant part of the local economy, solar power has experienced significant growth in Salem in recent years. For example, the municipal government is installing two large solar panel systems on public school rooftops:

  • Bentley Elementary School will use a 430-kilowatt (kW) solar panel system, which is expected to save more than $75,000 per year.
  • Witchcraft Heights Elementary School will be equipped with a 491-kW system, which will create over $86,000 in annual power bill savings.
  • These projects were made possible thanks to a $1.7 million grant awarded to Salem in 2016.

These are just a few of the initiatives aimed at reducing the environmental footprint of Salem. The municipality has created a Renewable Energy Task Force to identify and promote clean energy opportunities in the city. In 2014, a 740-megawatt (MW) oil and coal power plant was decommissioned and replaced with a 674 MW natural gas power plant, which releases fewer emissions.

Solar Power in Salem, MA

National Grid, the electric utility company serving the city of Salem, charges up to 20 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and has been increasing its rates significantly in recent years. The power bills of most National Grid customers increased by more than 10% between 2016 and 2017, and another tariff hike is being discussed for 2018. One of the best way to avoid paying for expensive electricity is to generate your own energy with solar panels. In addition to being a cleaner source of energy, electricity produced by solar panels can save you money on your electric bills.

If you live in Salem, solar panels can also provide an extra source of income through the Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program in Massachusetts. Here’s how the program works:

  • You earn one SREC for every 1,000 kWh generated by your solar panel system.
  • Utility companies that are subject to renewable energy generation targets are willing to pay generously for SRECs, because they can use SRECs to avoid fines and penalties.
  • The 2017 price of each SREC in Massachusetts is around $270.
  • Therefore, for every 1,000 kWh of electricity your solar panel system produces, you save around $200 on power bills and receive an SREC worth $270, bringing the total economic benefit to $470!

In addition to saving on power bills and selling SRECs, you can also receive several tax benefits when you purchase a solar panel system in Salem:

  • There is no sales tax on solar panels.
  • Property tax exemption: When you install solar, your property value is expected to increase by $20,000 or more! However, your property taxes will not increase despite the increase in home value due to installing solar panels,
  • State tax credit: You can deduct 15% of the cost of your solar panel system from state taxes, up to $1,000.
  • Federal tax credit: All solar panel systems installed before the end of 2019 are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit. Permitting and installing a solar panel system can take months so there is no time to waste!

With so many tax benefits, the total cost of owning a solar panel system in Salem can be less than 50% of the retail price of the panels. For those you can’t afford to pay for solar upfront, there are several financing options available, and many that don’t require a down payment. With energy savings and SREC sales, you can cover your monthly loan payments and enjoy FREE solar energy once your loan is paid off.