Best Solar Panel Installation Companies in Massachusetts – CNET

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Despite inclement weather affecting homes in fall, winter and spring, high electricity rates and attractive solar policies have made solar panels popular in the Bay State. 

Massachusetts is among the top 10 states with the highest electricity rates, at 27.83 cents per kilowatt-hour on average in August 2023, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration. The state’s average residential electric bill was $196.77 that month. Going solar could help lower your electricity bills, shield you from your utility’s price swings and reduce your home’s carbon emissions. 

While still quite a large investment, solar panels are more affordable to the average American than they were a decade ago, in large part due to federal and local incentives that help homeowners make the switch to clean energy. The biggest federal incentive is a major tax credit that was included in the Inflation Reduction Act. On the local level, however, Massachusetts offers residents its own state tax credit and property tax exemptions on solar panel systems.

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If you’re looking to take the first steps toward solar panel installation, here are a few of our picks for the best national solar companies that service Massachusetts.  

Best national solar panel companies in Massachusetts


Solar panels are typically low maintenance equipment, but they’re also unfamiliar. If you want to reap the benefits of solar but will have a bit more peace of mind if someone else is making sure it’s working, Palmetto might be a good fit for you. Just remember to add the cost of Palmetto’s monitoring service in to your payback period calculations.

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If you’re looking for top-of-the-line solar panels, SunPower is you best choice. But don’t write them off if you’re looking for a less flashy installation that will get the job done. This year it started installing Qcells panels, which should make an installation from the longest-tenured company on our list more available to more people.

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Include Freedom Forever in your search if you want the backing of a national company that installs a wide variety of the most popular solar equipment available. Freedom Forever also extends a couple of products that take some of the pain and risk out of going solar, like a production guarantee and an escrow option with cash purchases. Online reviews say customer satisfaction has been low of late, though the company says that’s changing.

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Tesla’s solar branch seems to be the least loved of Elon Musk’s ventures. Even Tesla’s Solar Roof seems to get more love.

If price is the thing you won’t budge on, consider Tesla. By all accounts, Tesla installs quality panels and makes the closest thing there is to a household name in solar storage: the Powerwall.

Where you might miss out is customer service. Discussion online seems to suggest Tesla’s service is a bit of a gamble.

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Momentum installs in 11 states without using subcontractors. While using in-house installers doesn’t guarantee a better experience, it does suggest you’re likely to get a more uniform experience from them. The fact that Momentum backs its installations with a 25-year workmanship warranty hints at a strong belief in their crews’ ability. If Momentum is part of your search, consider the warranties against leaks that other companies offer. Momentum’s is five years, which can be beat.

Local solar panel companies in Massachusetts

During your search for solar companies, you should also consider looking into local solar companies in your area. We pulled a few Massachusetts solar companies with some of the highest average Google review scores. However, it’s important to do some local solar company research on your own too or get referrals from people you know. Here are a few local solar companies in Massachusetts that might be worth taking a look at.

Boston Solar is a solar company based in Woburn, Massachusetts. Since 2011, the company has installed more than 30 megawatts of residential solar energy in the Bay State. Boston Solar handles the entire solar installation process in-house and offers a 10-year quality-of-work and 25-year product warranties. Solar financing is available through the company’s partnership with Sungage Financial.

Great Sky Solar is an employee-owned solar cooperative based in the greater Boston area. The company handles the entire customer lifecycle, including design, permitting, installation, interconnection and maintenance, and offers customers solar financing and leasing options. While the company provides a quality-of-work warranty, it doesn’t mention its length nor that of its performance and product warranties.

How to determine which solar company in Massachusetts is best for me

You’re going to want to find an installer that has experience working with the kind of solar project that you’re interested in. You’ll also want to make sure your installer has experience working on the type of roof that you have, and the type of system you want installed, like grid-tied or off-grid. 

Ben Delman, a communications director with Solar United Neighbors, a clean energy nonprofit, recommends that homeowners look for solar installers that are certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. They should also have the proper licensing and bonding for their work. Reading through online reviews can help you get a better understanding of a solar company’s installation and service reputation. A few places to look for solar company reviews are Google, Yelp and Angie’s. Delman recommends looking for solar companies that have at least 20 to 30 reviews. Ask people you know if they have any solar company recommendations, too. 

Aside from reviews and certifications, there are a few other things to look for in a solar installer. A good installer, Delman said, will be able to:

  • Provide good word-of-mouth references
  • Clearly explain all project deadlines
  • Easily define technical terms in an easy-to-understand manner
  • Show transparency around pricing and how system financing works
  • Have knowledge of the local permit requirements and the process for system interconnection with the local power company
  • Understand homeowners association restrictions and help you navigate that process

A reputable solar company should be able to answer any questions you may have, no matter how hard those questions might be. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification on any project and pricing details. To get the best price possible, make sure to shop around for at least three quotes before choosing an installer. 

Cost of solar panels in Massachusetts 

There are a number of important variables that might contribute to the cost of solar panel system installation. The size of your roof and system you need to install to adequately power all of your appliances will determine how many solar panels you can have installed.

If your roof is in bad shape, you may need to fix it prior to installing a solar panel system, which could also be an expensive affair. If you’re looking to install a solar battery alongside your solar panel system, that will also raise the cost of installation by a sizable amount.

Here’s a look at the average cash price for a 5-kilowatt system in Massachusetts before factoring in tax credits incentives, according to data from

Average cost of solar panels in Massachusetts

Typical system size (kW) Price per watt Total installed cost Cost after 30% federal tax credit
Massachusetts 5 $4.06 $20,300 $14,210
National average 8.6 $3.67 $31,558 $22,091

The following infographic provides the average total price, cost per watt and system size for solar panel systems in the United States, according to data from Prices shown do not account for changes due to tax credits or state solar incentives. If FindEnergy doesn’t have solar data for a particular state, it appears grayed out on the map.  

Massachusetts solar panel incentives or rebates

A solar system isn’t cheap for New Englanders. Thankfully, you can lower the price with federal tax credits and state-based incentives. 

The federal Residential Clean Energy Credit (formerly named the Investment Tax Credit) lets you subtract 30% of the cost of a solar system from your federal tax returns after you buy a solar system. That means you will pay $6,090 less for the average solar system installed in Massachusetts after using the federal credit. Most batteries will also qualify for the federal Clean Energy Credit. 

The Inflation Reduction Act is a landmark federal climate bill passed in August 2022. Thanks to the IRA, Americans can invest in residential solar energy and lower its cost with the federal tax credit until 2032. The credit will decrease to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034. It’s set to expire in 2035. To receive the Clean Energy Credit, you can complete form 5695 (PDF) and submit it to the IRS. The IRS instructions can help you complete the form. Following the IRS approval, you will get a 30% credit on your federal tax return for the year.

Massachusetts also offers several residential incentive programs to cut the cost of solar. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency provides a comprehensive list of all incentives in the Bay State. Here are the most significant ones worth noting.

Program Description
State tax credit Massachusetts provides a 15% solar tax credit with a maximum credit of $1,000 for purchased solar systems. You can claim the tax credit on filing your income tax for the year. You can carry it over for three successive years if you have excess credit.
Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target The SMART program pays customers of Eversource, National Grid and Unitil a fixed rate per kilowatt-hour for the electricity produced by residential solar panels. The SMART program allows projects below 25 kW solar capacity to obtain the highest base compensation rates between 0.21 cents and 0.31 cents per kWh for 10 years. The program expires in a decreasing block process. The rates depend on the three participating utilities – Eversource, National Grid and Unitil.
State tax exemptions Massachusetts offers property tax and 6.25% sales exemptions for residential solar systems. You won’t pay taxes on the added home value from your solar panel purchase and installation, and you can claim these exemptions on your income tax return.

How to pay for solar panels in Massachusetts 

As with any major purchase, you will want to think about how to finance the cost of solar panels. Keep in mind, the money from the tax credit won’t be yours until after you’ve filed your taxes for the year the panels are installed. It’s also important to factor in the solar payback period, which is the time it takes to recoup your upfront investment and when savings begins. 

Here are some ways to pay for solar panels:

Personal loan: You can also borrow the money through a personal loan. The main difference between a personal loan and a home equity loan is that a personal loan is typically unsecured. That means your house isn’t at risk. The downside is they tend to have shorter terms and higher interest rates than home equity products.

Solar loan: Your solar installer likely has a relationship with a bank or other financial institution to offer a loan designed for solar panels. This can be a great deal, but you’ll want to get multiple offers to ensure the rates and terms are the best.

Cash: This approach only works if you happen to have thousands of dollars sitting around in a bank account. If you don’t have that yet, but you want solar panels in the future, consider saving money in a high-yield savings account. Interest rates are high right now, and this can help you save faster.

Lease or power purchase agreement: Some solar companies allow you to lease your system or enter a power purchase agreement. If you choose to lease, you won’t own the solar system, you’ll just pay for use of the equipment. Entering a power purchase agreement means you’ll buy solar energy generated from the solar company to power your home. The price you’ll pay is usually lower than the retail rate from your local utility company. Note that not all incentives are available with a lease or power purchase agreement.

Home equity: You don’t have to use a loan from your solar company. Financial institutions offer home equity loans and lines of credit (or HELOCs) that are commonly used for home improvement projects. These loans can be used for basically any purpose, and they may be a good fit for your solar project. Shop around and make sure you’re getting the best deal.

Installation factors to consider

Investing in a solar system is a serious financial commitment. It’s worth considering various factors that may or may not make solar panels suitable for your home.

  • Condition and tilt of your roof: According to the Department of Energy, solar panels operate most efficiently with an angle between 15 and 40 degrees. Because your roof’s pitch will affect your solar panels’ productivity, it’s crucial to determine if your roof has the right angle and whether panels can be positioned to get the maximum output. Your roof should also be in good shape before attaching solar panels. Typically, replacing an older roof before installing solar panels is recommended to reduce the risk of further damage to the roof and potentially higher costs of its replacement after putting up a solar system. 
  • Insurance coverage: It’s worth including your solar system in your homeowner’s insurance policy. Check with your insurance company for details of your policy and coverage of your solar system.
  • Location: There is a misconception that solar panels stop working in the winter. As a northern state, Massachusetts gets a lot of snow in the winter. Output from solar panels in the winter is lower relative to the summer because of shorter days. But solar panels generate electricity if the sunlight covers solar panels. Solar panels reach high efficiency during wintertime since their ideal internal temperature ranges between 40 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Solar panels seamlessly generate power as soon as snow slides off or is removed. 
  • Cost vs. time: It’s worth considering how long you plan to live in your home before you sign a solar loan, lease or PPA. Solar is a long-term investment. If you move in a few years, committing to an expensive solar package may not be worth it. The typical payback period for solar ranges from six to nine years.
  • HOA and neighborhood rules: Massachusetts’s solar easement and rights laws ban homeowners’ associations from creating unreasonable restrictions on solar access. The state allows for the establishment of voluntary easements and solar access contracts, but it doesn’t consider solar access an automatic right.

How we found the best solar companies 

Our Methodology

The companies we listed above as “the best” are curated from CNET’s best solar companies list. Companies making the best list are scored on the equipment, warranties and customer service they offer. Then, we make sure these recommendations are available in your state. You can read a full breakdown of how we review solar companies here.

Companies listed under the local installers were chosen in a less rigorous way. We chose them because they offered something unique or notable to customers in the state, they seemed well-regarded by internet reviewers or because they were one of the few installers we could find information on in the state.

Whether we’ve completed a full review on a company or not, it’s always a good idea to get multiple quotes from different installers before choosing a company.

Massachusetts solar power FAQs

Will solar panels generate power in the winter in northern states?

Solar panels generate electricity as long as they are exposed to sunlight. They generate power in sub-freezing temperatures, even in places like Antarctica. Solar panels work more efficiently in cold weather since their maximum efficiency is between 40 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The level of efficiency that falls with rising temperatures depends on the type of solar panels you will use. Some solar panels are more efficient than others. 

Do I pay any electric bills after I get solar panels?

Yes, unless you go off-grid and rely on solar batteries to power your home when sunlight isn’t available. In most cases, homes with solar panels will stay connected to the power grid to use it as a backup power source when the sun sets. Your electric bill will reflect what you owe for the energy you use from the grid, which will be lower than if you didn’t have solar panels.

How can I find a solar installer in Massachusetts?

Picking the right installer from hundreds of solar companies in Massachusetts can be overwhelming. As a rule of thumb, go over customer testimonials and reviews, get at least four or five quotes from different companies, check for installer licenses and pick one that best matches what you’re looking for. You can also read through CNET’s selection of the top solar companies.

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