The solar industry is growing rapidly in Massachusetts. It’s one of the best states to go solar in, and it’s not just us saying it. It’s a fact. Massachusetts is ranked sixth in the country for solar energy. This ranking is because of the state incentives, innovation, and enthusiasm of Massachusetts residents for renewable energy.
High electric rates in the State are another reason that solar can be so profitable in Massachusetts. In 2015, Massachusetts had the 5th highest electric rates in the country. People often think of sunny states like California being better for solar than Massachusetts. However, the annual average price per kilowatt in 2015 was 15.50 cents in California and 16.86 cents in Massachusetts. This just over 10 cent difference is enough to make up for the less sunny climate in Massachusetts. The State is helping to drive the country in solar jobs, installations, and growth projections, playing an instrumental role in building a more sustainable future.
The Growth of Solar
The State has seen exponential growth in solar installations. The graphic below from SEIA shows the progression of solar in the forms of residential, commercial, utility, and concentrated solar power. The graph also shows projected solar installations going up to 2021.
These installations have totaled to 1,591.7 megawatts of solar installed in the State, 430.9 megawatts added in 2016 alone. For reference, this is enough energy to power 262,000 homes in the State, and provide close to 6% of the State’s total electricity usage. This growth is expected to continue at much higher rates, with projections showing 2,377 megawatts of solar added over the next 5 years. This growth in installations has been spurred by huge price declines, 64% over the last 5 years. Massachusetts has also created more solar jobs than most states, with 14,582 people employed by the solar industry. These people work for the 588 solar-related companies that have grown all over the Commonwealth.
Clean Energy and Climate Plan
The solar industry’s success is driven by Massachusetts residents excitement for solar energy, and by the State government’s commitment to limiting emissions. The State has instituted a Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020. The plan lays out policies to help achieve 25% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, and 80% by 2050. Solar’s role in this push is to install 1,600 gigawatts of solar energy by 2020. Between solar and wind energy combined, the State plans to have 15% of Massachusetts electricity load created by renewable energy by 2020. This is an impressive goal when compared to other states, such as South Carolina, which has a goal of only 2% by 2021.
The expansion of solar energy in Massachusetts helps the State reach its renewable energy and carbon reduction goals, creates jobs, boosts the economy, and saves residents money. Massachusetts truly is one of the best states for solar and will lead the path to a renewable energy future.