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Solar power in Massachusetts

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Solar power in Massachusetts

Photovoltaics on a house near Boston[1]

Solar power in Massachusetts has been increasing rapidly, due to a 30% tax grant for installations begun before December 31, 2011,[2] and the sale of SRECs for $0.30/kWh,[3] which allow payback for the system within 5 or 6 years, and generating an income for the rest of the life of the system. For systems installed after December 31, 2011, and before December 31, 2016, the 30% tax grant becomes a 30% tax credit. There has been an appeal to the Congress to extend the 1603 program, the grant program, for an additional year.[4][5]

Net metering is available with no aggregate limit for systems less than 10 kW, or three phase connected systems less than 25 kW. Larger systems are limited to 3% of total peak load.[6]

The first solar park in the country is the 100 kW array installed in 1981 at Beverly High School.[7] Only five college campuses in the state have solar panels, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Northeastern University, University of Massachusetts Boston, and Tufts University. The largest is Harvard's 555 kW array.[8][9]

New England's largest privately owned solar array is the 4.5 MW Westford Solar Park, completed in April 2012.[10] Almost every town and city in Massachusetts has a solar installation within its boundaries.[11] The town of Harvard, Massachusetts has the most solar installations with 75 planned, of which 21 have been installed.[12] Holyoke is home to two arrays which total 4.5 MW which were completed on December 20, 2011.[13] A 1.8 MW solar farm in Pittsfield was completed in 2010.[14] A 5.75 MW solar park in Canton was completed in 2012.[15][16] Two 6 MW solar parks are being built, one in Berkley, and the other in Carver.[17] As of August 2012, a total of 129 MW has been installed in the state.[18]

State officials had set a target of installing 250 MW of solar PV statewide by 2017 and in May 2013 upped the target to 1,600 MW by 2020 as the 250 MW goal had been met four years ahead of schedule.[19]


Average solar insolation

Potential generation

The average insolation in Massachusetts is about 4 sun hours per day, and ranges from less than 2 in the winter to over 5 in the summer.[20]


Massachusetts electricity consumption in 2010 was 57,123 million kWh. The state is a net importer of electricity, having only generated 42,805 million kWh.[22] Massachusetts has the potential for generating 799,344 million kWh/year from 184,076 MW of offshore wind farms and 82,205 million kWh from 51,568 MW of photovoltaic solar farms, and 11,723 million kWh from 10,316 MW of rooftop photovoltaics.[23]

Installed capacity

Massachusetts Grid-Connected PV Capacity (MW)[24][25][26][27][28]
Year Capacity Change % Change
2003 0.15 0.03 25%
2004 0.21 0.06 40%
2005 0.28 0.07 33%
2006 2.18 1.90 679%
2007 3.83 1.67 76%
2008 7.36 3.53 92%
2009 16.95 9.59 130%
2010 40.07 23.12 136%
2011 74.6 36.4 86%
2012 207.3 123.2 165%
2013 445.0 237.7 115%

See also


  1. ^ Solar house
  2. ^ 1603 Treasury Program
  3. ^ Massachusetts Announces Change to SREC Program
  4. ^ Energy Tax Breaks Proposed, Despite Waning Support for Subsidies
  5. ^ Overview and Status Update of the 1603 Program
  6. ^ Massachusetts Net Metering
  7. ^ Solar-panel grant keeps Beverly High going green
  8. ^ Harvard is Hot on Solar Panels, But Why Aren’t Other Boston Universities as Charged Up?
  9. ^ Solar Energy & Weather Data
  10. ^ Solar park set to warm region
  11. ^ Governor Patrick Flips The Switch at Westford Solar Park
  12. ^ Solararize Harvard
  13. ^ Holyoke solar power project, among largest in New England, starts up
  14. ^ Largest solar power plant in New England about to open
  15. ^ Old Massachusetts Landfill Will be Home to New England's Largest Solar Array
  16. ^ Canton dump may soon be a solar powerhouse
  17. ^ Solar power soars to new heights in Berkley
  18. ^ Massachusetts Clean Energy Installations
  19. ^ FOX 6 Springfield (2013-05-02). "Massachusetts Sets New Goal for Solar Power".  
  20. ^ Solar Insolation Levels In North America
  21. ^ Installed Solar Capacity in Massachusetts
  22. ^  
  23. ^ Renewable Energy Technical Potential
  24. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2014). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2013". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2014-07-16. 
  25. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2013). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2012" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2013-10-11. 
  26. ^ Sherwood, Larry (June 2011). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2010". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  27. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2010). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2009". Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). Retrieved 2010-07-28. 
  28. ^ Sherwood, Larry (July 2009). "U.S. Solar Market Trends 2008" (PDF). Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC). p. 16. Retrieved 2010-07-24. 

External links

  • Incentives and policies
  • Renew Boston Solar Map
  • Cambridge Solar Map by Mapdwell
  • Wellfleet Solar Map by Mapdwell
  • 2012 Solar Installer Awards
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