As New England’s largest utility, Eversource Energy supplies over 4 million customers with the electricity and natural gas they use to power their homes. Built on over a century of service and infrastructure, Eversouce is now embracing the future as “America’s Most Responsible Energy Company” and has been recognized by Newsweek two years in a row.
So what makes Eversource Massachusetts different from other utility companies? Well, they were the first investor-owned energy provider in the United States to commit to 100% carbon-neutral operations by 2030.
With such an ambitious plan, Eversource recognizes that it will need help from many different sources, including its customers, to achieve carbon neutrality by the end of the decade. To boost emission-free energy adoption in their service area, Eversource MA offers a handful of great solar incentives for residential and commercial electric customers.
In this article, we’ll take a look at everything you need to know as an Eversourcre customer in Massachusetts that’s considering a solar energy system, including the programs, incentives, and savings you can expect after installation.
Massachusetts State Solar Incentives
In one of the most solar-forward areas in the country, Bay Staters are lucky enough to benefit from a long history of solar incentives in Massachusetts. Regardless of your electric utility provider, if you live in Massachusetts and want to go solar, you may be able to qualify for a handful of solar incentives such as:
- The 30% federal tax credit for solar and storage
- A Massachusetts state tax credit (up to $1,000)
- Sales tax exemption
- Property tax exemption
- Local programs and rebates
Note: Your eligibility for solar incentives depends on your location, electric utility provider, income level, interest in battery storage, and more. Palmetto cannot determine your eligibility for any specific program, and this article has been written for educational purposes only.
Solar Incentive Programs for Eversource Utility Customers
Spread across 140 different communities, Eversource Energy provides approximately 1.4 million customers with electricity service in Massachusetts. Historically, Eversouce has participated in a few different Massachusetts solar programs, with limited eligibility and access typically determined by when the installation was completed.
Net Metering with Eversource Energy
As an investor-owned utility in Massachusetts, Eversource Energy is required to offer net metering to all of its residential solar customers. Similar to other utilities around the country, Eversource Energy’s net metering program is relatively straightforward, allowing solar producers to earn energy bill credits for the excess electricity they generate and send to the grid.
With no offset restrictions in Eversource’s MA service territory, residential customers can essentially generate as much solar power as they would like for credits toward their utility bill payments. With that being said, installations larger than 10kW may receive credits at a reduced rate, and customers can never “cash out” their accumulated production, as it rolls over month-to-month indefinitely.
Most professionally installed residential solar arrays smaller than 10kW will usually qualify for 1-to1 net metering with Eversouce. However, the utility does charge a few small fees for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and distributed solar, so actual compensation for net metering credits will be slightly less than 1-to-1 against retail energy rates.
Enrollment in Eversource Energy’s net metering program does not interfere with any other solar incentives. Thus, customers with net metering remain eligible for all of the other solar initiatives we’ll highlight below.
RECs for Massachusetts Eversource Customers
Defined in 2008 by the Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) can be earned by Eversource Massachusetts customers that produce solar power onsite. For every 1,000 kWh of solar energy generated and sent to the grid, MA residents may earn one REC, which can then be sold for real cash value.
Under the umbrella of renewable energy credits, New England solar producers may be able to earn Class I RECs, Class II RECs, or SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Certificates), depending on when the system was installed. While Class I RECs are the most common in MA, Class II RECs may be created by systems installed before 1998, and SRECs were previously made possible by solar-specific carve-outs in Massachusetts legislation.
Critically, RECs and SRECs can only be generated by those who own their solar energy system, whether purchased in cash or financed. Those who lease their solar panels are not eligible to generate and sell RECs in Massachusetts.
To help MA solar producers be compensated for their RECs, Palmetto has partnered with SRECTrade, a prominent energy brokerage that provides homeowners the opportunity to sell their credits on the open market. Currently offering a fixed incentive rate of $16/REC, customers can receive direct deposit payment for credits in the month following their generation at a fixed rate for 10 years.
SMART Incentives for Massachusetts Eversource Customers
Created by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program is a billion-dollar initiative designed to incentivize 3,200 MW of solar installations across the state. Launched in 2018 to replace the state’s existing renewable energy credit process, Eversource Massachusetts solar producers can only be enrolled in either the REC or SMART program, but not both.
Like with RECs, SMART customers can receive financial payments for the solar power they produce and send to the energy grid. After interconnection, participants can expect to receive their first payment two months after approval from the Department of Energy Resources (DOER). Subsequent payments are then made monthly, roughly six to ten weeks after the actual solar energy is produced.
As a declining block incentive, the SMART program has been slowly losing its value since it was launched. The amount for which solar producers are compensated for their energy depends on both where and when the system was interconnected to determine which “block” it falls within. Beyond carve-outs for the state’s other major utilities (National Grid and Unitil), the Eversource SMART incentive program is split into two regional blocks: Eastern and Western Mass.
Eligibility for SMART incentives is similar to that of the REC program, as only those who own their system can participate. Once a base price for a customer’s SMART incentive is determined, residential solar energy systems under 25 kW can then produce electricity and earn cash back for 10 years.
For Eversource MA customers hoping to take advantage of the SMART incentive, your solar installer will be responsible for handling the SMART application process, as well as determining if the program is still available and valuable. As a company that focuses on customer service, Palmetto can help with every step of going solar in Massachusetts, including the decision to enroll in either the SMART or REC program.
Bonus Eversource MA Programs for Energy Efficiency
In addition to its clean power programs, Eversource recognizes that reducing customers’ overall electricity consumption is also one of the key elements to building a sustainable future with renewable energy. With this, Eversource offers energy efficiency programs in both eastern and western Massachusetts.
The best way to get started increasing the energy efficiency of your home is to schedule an on-site visit with an authorized contractor. During the visit, an expert will perform inspections and tests to provide a personalized energy efficiency solution designed to reduce consumption and save money on power costs with improved insulation, HVAC systems, and more.
Beyond a full-home inspection, Eversource Massachusetts also provides incentives designed to reward customers who reduce stress on the local energy grid with their ConnectedSolutions Demand Response programs. Customers can earn rebates when they install smart thermostats, solar home batteries, or intelligent EV charging systems that can adapt to the overall demand being placed on the grid.
How to Maximize Your Benefits as an Eversource Solar Customer
There are many things that you can do as an Eversource solar customer to maximize the value of your renewable energy system. In addition to enrolling in net metering, it is important to know whether or not your solar panels qualify for the SMART or REC program, and which path would lead to more value overall.
In the fall of 2022, the declining value of the SMART incentive is near $0.00 for Eversource customers, although the program may still be available to those in Eastern Massachusetts. If you own a solar system with battery storage, smart energy management can also help to keep electricity costs low, either by navigating around peak demand periods, or participating in Eversource’s ConnectedSolutions program.
Ultimately, one of the best things you can do to maximize your benefits as an Eversouce customer with solar energy is to talk to an expert at every step of the process. From identifying available programs to determining their value and navigating applications, Palmetto can help you earn more with your solar energy system in Massachusetts.
Key Takeaways for Eversource Energy Customers
As a utility that values dispersed clean energy, going solar with Eversource Energy is a great way to control your electricity spending in Massachusetts. With net metering, energy efficiency programs, and all of the state and utility’s solar incentives, Eversource customers can go solar to save big on their ongoing electricity expenses.
If you’re thinking about going solar in Massachusetts, Palmetto is here to help you every step of the way. From designing the best system for your property to maximizing savings with Eversource Energy solar incentives, our experts make going solar as easy and valuable as possible.
To instantly see what your solar savings in Massachusetts look like, get a free estimate today. We can calculate your return on investment for going solar, and show you what a solar panel system will look like on your roof.