Location, Location, Location!
Everyone can purchase solar electricity, but only certain sites are good locations for solar generation. How do you know if your building or parcel is suitable for solar development? The Department of Energy, Energy Sage, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources all offer great guides for evaluating the solar potential of your property as well as the resources to guide you as you move forward with a project.
Ownership Rebates, incentives and return on investment
In general a viable residential solar project should break even in 5-7 years and continue providing energy and dollar savings for at least 20 years, making solar a very good investment. With rebates and incentives covering as much as 45% of the costs of a project, many solar owners have quicker and higher returns. The resources above should help you identify your generation options as well as provide good information on rebates and incentives that may apply to you. As of this writing (2023) the Inflation Reduction Act allows for up to a a 30% federal tax credit for solar projects and the Massachusetts offers an additional credit of up to $1,000. Rewiring America offers this calculator for estimating Federal tax credits.
In addition, if you property is suitable, you may consider a solar lease, where you lease your roof to a vendor who owns and maintains the solar production. In this case, the owner of the solar panels claims the credits and incentives, but gives you a discount on electricity. Be careful to read the fine print about the restrictions on the use and future sale of your property if you choose to investigate a leasing option.