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Market Spotlight: 

MASSACHUSETTS

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Welcome! Here you will find market highlights, pricing, requirements, and other market-specific information about Massachusetts.

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IMPORTANT MARKET INFORMATION

Massachusetts Service Area

In Massachusetts, we service the entire state, with the sole exception of Cape Cod, anywhere east of Plymouth. The Cape presents challenges for both installation and maintenance. Please note that travel adder requirements are subject to change and depending on some remote locations, we may not be able to accommodate or installations may be delayed.

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Solar Installation Map For: 

  • Solar Installation Boston, MA 

      (Surrounding Areas)

  • Solar Installation Worcester, MA

      (Surrounding Areas)

  • Solar Installation Framingham, MA

      (Surrounding Areas)

  • Solar Installation Brockton, MA

      (Surrounding Areas)

  • Solar Installation Leominster, MA

      (Surrounding Areas)

  • Solar Installation Lowell, MA

      (Surrounding Areas)

  • Solar Installation Marshfield, MA

      (Surrounding Areas)

Below is a map of Powur's installations in Massachusetts, updated May 2023.

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Massachusetts Project Cycle Times

What are typical project cycle times in Massachusetts?

The information shared below is a general guideline for project cycles and approval timelines based on historical experience. However, these timelines can change due to many factors including our current project pipeline, new AHJ or utility requirements, new policies, on-site project conditions, or other unforeseen circumstances.

Overall Project Timeline

How long does it take to install a project in Massachusetts?

The average time it takes from a signed contract to a complete installation in Massachusetts is between 88-100 Days. Once the installation is complete, the average time to Permission to Operate (PTO) is between 38-45 days. This is the state average, and while some projects can be installed faster or take longer, it is best to set a conservative expectation with your customers.

The average timeline from Contract to Installation: 100 Days

The average timeline from Installation to PTO: 45 Days

Speedy jurisdictions: Kingston, Milton, Lynn, Burlington, Quincy, Framingham, Woburn, Danbury, Weymouth

Are there any additional considerations that may extend the project lifecycle?

The following areas have regulations or guidelines for solar projects that may require additional steps or result in extended project lifecycles:

  • Ground Mounts:

       Ground mount projects in Massachusetts may add 90 days or more to the overall project cycle time due to permitting           and installation requirements.

  • Main Panel Upgrades:

       Projects that require a main panel upgrade in Massachusetts may see extended project lifecycles up to 60 days due to

       additional installation steps required by local authorities.

  • Roof Work:

       When selling projects with roof work in Massachusetts, project cycle times may be delayed up to 60 days.

 

Utility Approval Cycle Times

 

How long does utility approval take?

For most utilities in Massachusetts, utility approval for PTO generally occurs 30 days after inspection is passed.

 

National Grid

Average timeline to Installation Approval: 30-45 Days

Average timeline to PTO: 30 Days

Eversource

Average timeline to Installation Approval: 30-45 Days

Average timeline to PTO: 30 Days

Unitil

Average timeline to Installation Approval: 30-45 Days

Average timeline to PTO: 30 Days

 

Are there any additional considerations for utility approval and cycle times?

 

Boston Area

Equipment Upgrades: It is common for utility service upgrades on older equipment to be upgraded for utility approval for installation and PTO, which will require custom pricing. 

Western Massachusetts

Transformer Upgrades: Some projects in Massachusetts may require distribution grid transformer upgrades. The utility will provide a quote along with installation approval and the cost is passed onto the consumer. Prices range from $1000 - $5000. Project cycles will be delayed potentially around 2-4 weeks to complete the upgrade.

National Grid, Eversource, Unitil

Application for Cap Allocation (ACA) for Regulated Utilities: 

If the system installed is greater than 10 kW AC within a regulated utility's service territory, Massachusetts requires an ACA (Application for Cap Allocation) and there is a waitlist that can last a few years until additional capacity is available.

 

Note: This does NOT apply to small municipal utilities.

ACA Process: If a project is sold over 10kW AC and an ACA is required, please be advised that the interconnection team will be in touch with you once we have the preliminary interconnection approval. At that point in the process, you will have receive instructions on how to create a profile in the Massachusetts ACA portal to grant us access to submit your application to the waitlist on your behalf.

Coming Soon: A bill was passed on August 18th, 2022 lifting the requirement from 10kW AC to 25 kW AC for an ACA. However, the new legislation has not gone into effect and until further notice, all projects over 10kW AC will require an ACA.

 

Permitting Approval Cycle Times

 

How long does AHJ approval take?

Based on our experience across the state of Massachusetts, the average Cycle Time for permitting approval is 30-45 days.

 

     Additional Zoning Approval: Additional zoning approval may be required in certain jurisdictions and conditions, 

     including:

  • Ground Mounts

  • Historical Districts

  • Fire Restrictions

 

Are there any additional considerations for permitting and approval times?

Massachusetts also requires rough inspections which will extend the process for completing the installation. Conditional Approvals prior to the final inspection are averaging a two-week turnaround from the AHJ’s, which is required in order to apply for PTO approval from the utility.

Simplified Setback Requirements:

At least two 3-foot pathways from eave to ridge on the residence. One must be on the driveway side of the home. Each roof with solar must have at least one 3-foot pathway from eave to ridge. An 18-inch setback from the ridge is required in most cases. If all roof planes have solar, a 3-foot setback from the ridge is required. 

State-Specific Adders & Call-Outs

Are there any specific Adders call-outs for projects in the state of Massachusetts?

Yes. see below for info about additional project adders or project costs:

Engineering Stamps

  • Structural: $150 - A structural engineering stamp is required, this cost is included in the project costs

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Massachusetts
Net Metering Information

What is the Net Metering Policy in Massachusetts?

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the system size determines which of three net metering classes the customer falls into. However, Class 1 is for all projects under 60kW, so it is unlikely that residential projects will exceed this class. Class 1 customers receive 100% of the kWh value of their excess energy production, including utility charges for basic service, distribution, transmission, and transition.

  • Class 1: Solar projects < 60kW receive a 1:1 net metering credit

 

What happens to excess Net Metering bill credits?

If your net consumption is negative, you will receive a net metering credit on your electricity bill which calculated and credited to the customer’s account as a dollar-value credit (not as kilowatt hours) on the bill. If the credits are not allocated to during the billing period, they will roll over to the next billing period.

Unused credits never expire, and will accrue on the account indefinitely. Customers should not expect to receive a check or payment as compensation for accrued net metering credits.

For more information about Net Metering in Massachusetts, check out the MA Net Metering Guide.

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Massachusetts
Rebates And Incentives

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Massachusetts
Rebates And Incentives

Overview

MA renewable income tax credit: Massachusetts allows a 15% credit -- up to $1,000 -- against the state income tax for the net expenditure of a renewable energy system (including installation costs) installed on an individual’s primary residence.

MA no longer has an SREC program, but instead has been replaced with the SMART Program.

 

SMART Program details:

The SMART program was started in 2018 with the goal of supporting the installation of 3200 MW of solar. This capacity is divided among the three investor-owned electric distribution companies in Massachusetts: Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil. If you qualify for the SMART program, your utility will pay you a fixed rate-per-kilowatt-hour (kWh) of solar energy your solar panels produce for 10 years.

 

The SMART incentive rate you will receive depends on three things:

  1. The size of your system

  2. Your utility

  3. What block the program is in

It’s important to note that the Capacity Block Compensation Rate includes the cost of electricity, so it rolls the value of net metering and the value of the SMART program incentive into one. If you want to know exactly how much you are getting from the SMART program alone, you have to subtract the cost of electricity from the Capacity Block Compensation Rate.

Example of SMART Program:

Let’s say you are an Eversource East customer and you install a 6 kW solar panel system on your roof that produces 12,000 kWh of electricity a year.

  • You get approved for a compensation rate of $0.277723 per kWh of solar energy your panels produce.

  • Cost of electricity= $0.15735 per kWh

  • Subtract the cost of electricity, which in this case is about $0.15735 per kWh, from the Capacity Block Compensation Rate.

    • $0.277723 SMART program comp rate -$0.15735 cost of electricity= $0.120373 incentive

  • If your panels produce 12,000 kWH per year

  • Multiply the panel production with the incentive rate

    • $0.120373 * 12,000= $1444.48

  • The SMART program will save you $1444.48 per year on top of what you save on net metering

 

There is an adder for energy storage that will allow you to get an even larger rate but that adder is not a fixed amount, it’s based on the utility and fluctuates based on demand.

How to apply: Applications can be done by us through the corresponding utility’s interconnection portal.

Compensation Rates as of May 2023 [Subject to Change]:

You can find more information on Blocks and Base Compensation Rates here.

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