Save with solar in Waltham, Massachusetts

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Waltham, Massachusetts

Waltham was a key industrial center during the American Industrial Revolution, and was home to the Boston Manufacturing Company – owners of the first textile mill in the nation. The success of the textile industry was a driver of growth for Waltham, which now has a population of over 60,000.

Waltham has been nicknamed Watch City, thanks to another successful company from the 19th century: the Waltham Watch Company. They launched the first watch assembly line in the world and operated for more than a century, from 1854 to 1957. Waltham was also home to Metz, manufacturers of the first assembly line motorcycle, and Raytheon, who developed and produced magnetron tubes during World War II. This invention is now used in microwave ovens.

The solar industry has shown significant growth in Massachusetts over recent years, and Waltham is no exception:

  • National Grid is headquartered in Waltham and is the local natural gas provider (electricity is provided by Eversource). In 2009, they equipped their main office building with a 225-kilowatt solar panel system. The installation helped the building achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification.
  • The local government has created the Waltham Energy Action Committee (WEAC), which has the goal of driving energy efficiency and renewable energy adoption in the city.
  • Global Flight Systems, a Waltham startup company, recently developed a solar-powered drone.

Solar Power in Waltham, MA

Eversource is the electric utility company serving Waltham, and their electricity rates are very high compared to the rest of the country. The average US household pays 12 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), but Eversource customers pay over 20 cents per kWh. Additionally, Eversource bills increased by around 10% between 2016 and 2017, and are expected to continue to rise. However, homeowners in Waltham and protect themselves from further increases in electricity costs by purchasing a solar panel systems.

Home and business owners in Waltham who own solar panels can also earn Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs). An SREC is awarded for every 1,000 kWh of solar energy generated, even if that energy is used for self-consumption. Ad of early 2017, SRECs can be sold for around $270. Therefore, for every 1,000 kWh of solar produced, home and business owners in Waltham can save around $200 on their electric bills and sell an SREC for $270, bringing the total economic benefit to $470. In other words, instead of paying Eversource 20 cents per kWh, you can get free energy and earn 27 cents per kWh of energy produced.

In addition to energy savings and SREC sales, there are several tax breaks for owners of solar panel systems in Waltham. First, you do not have to pay sales tax on the upfront purchase of a solar system. Second, there is no property tax increase even though installing solar panels will raise your home value significantly. Third, the owners of a solar panel system in Waltham can claim a state tax credit for 15% of the total system cost, up to $1,000. Finally, all solar panel purchases in the USA are eligible for a 30% federal tax credit.

If you cannot pay for a solar system upfront, a low-interest loan with a zero upfront investment can can be an excellent way to go solar for those who qualify. The combined economic benefit of energy savings, SREC sales, and tax breaks is more than enough to pay off the loan, and you can start saving with solar from the very first day!