While Massachusetts receives some of the lowest sunlight in the country, the state remains one of the top 10 markets for solar, thanks to the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program.
The DG+ Massachusetts Solar Report breaks down available incentives and how they impact solar pricing. It also provides an overview of which developers dominate the residential and non-residential solar markets.
SMART was signed by Governor Charlie Baker in 2016 and officially enacted in 2018. The SMART Program provides residential and non-residential solar customers a per-kWh incentive to install solar projects up to 5 MW. SMART is a declining Block Program, which means the incentive levels will continue to decline once certain capacity thresholds are met in each utility territory. The SMART program is still at its initial incentive blocks, which means ample funding remains for community solar and behind-the-meter (BTM) projects.
Solar power purchase agreement (PPA) prices are very favorable across all system sizes in Massachusetts, owing largely to the SMART program, which has been accredited for stimulating massive solar growth in the state. Customers of National Grid, Eversource, and Unitil can enjoy generous compensation for the solar energy produced by their systems. Despite the fact that residential SMART compensation terms are limited to 10 years, solar is still cost-effective for residential customers due to the additional $1,000 residential renewable energy income tax credit. In addition, retail electricity prices in Massachusetts are extremely high, making it easier for BTM solar PPA prices to be competitive in the market. Utility-scale systems are slightly less favorable but are still close enough to wholesale prices to be competitive.
In addition to the SMART program, Massachusetts hosts several other incentives that promote solar. Solar energy system owners are not required to pay local taxes for up to 20 years for the value the system adds to their property. In addition, all eligible solar equipment is 100% exempt from the state’s sales taxes.
Massachusetts’ favorable solar incentive structure has attracted major solar developers to the state. As of Q3 2021, Vivint/SunRun leads residential behind-the-meter (BTM) market share, with 31.3% of installed capacity. Trinity Solar and Freedom Forever Solar closely follow, at 16.1% and 6.1% market share respectively. In terms of utility front-of-the-meter (FTM) solar, AES Distributed Energy leads the market with a 29.7% market share.
The booming solar development in the state has created a burgeoning market for solar jobs. Massachusetts is currently ranked 4th in the country under this category, and more than 60% of the solar labor force in the state are installers.
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As local markets change dynamically and policies remain difficult to navigate, clean energy organizations are currently forced to choose between the overwhelming flow of free information and high-priced market intelligence subscriptions that are often too expensive for small- and medium-sized firms.
At DG+, we provide succinct information that cuts through the noise and gets to the point. Reports include details on current events, opportunities and challenges, policy summaries, pricing analysis, and market share data.
Massachusetts Solar Market Report
The DG+ Massachusetts Solar Report provides an overview of state incentives, estimated PPA pricing, and market share data on leading solar developers and installers.