Many homeowners install solar panels for the economic benefits. Our customers report massive savings monthly, annually, and over several years. For example, from avoided energy costs and incentives, solar customers can save over $100,000 in 25 years, like our customer Bill Desrosiers of Millville, MA who is saving $150,000. On average, Massachusetts solar customers can see savings of $1,200 to $6,000 or more every year (depending on their monthly electric bills and available incentives). If you don’t spend your solar savings and choose to save up long term, the average homeowner saves $68,000 or more in avoided costs over 25 years from not using fossil fuels. In addition, tax credits and incentives save (and even earn) you more on top of your avoided electricity costs. With savings beginning on day one and accumulating monthly, there’s a variety of ways this money can be allocated. In this post, we’ve broken down where these savings come from and what you can do with them.
First, where does solar savings come from? Here are the 4 biggest ways Massachusetts homeowners and businesses save money by going solar:
Why Solar Makes Sense in Massachusetts
It’s important to note that Massachusetts has both large utility companies and small municipal light plants, depending on the town. Big electrical utility companies such as Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil have much higher electric rates than municipal light plants do. Because of this, electricity prices vary across the state, but the average rate is about $0.24/kWh. In Massachusetts, the average homeowner spends around $124 on electricity every month, but families often see higher bills. On top of that, electric rates in Massachusetts rise around 5% every year. Therefore, by switching to solar energy and avoiding expensive electric bills, you can save and feel good with predictable electric rates.
Net metering, an incentive program in Massachusetts towns affiliated with Eversource, National Grid, or Unitil, earns homeowners and businesses credits towards future bills when they generate more electricity than they use. This is helpful in the darker winter months when solar panels don’t produce as much power as in the sunnier months.
Other incentives like SMART provide homeowners and businesses financial compensation for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of solar energy they produce, whether they use it or not. This program also differs from net metering because money earned via SMART can be delegated towards anything, not just subsequent electric bills. The average person gets $20-$100 monthly from SMART, depending on their electricity production. This extra cash can help cover your essential needs, or invest your savings and see your money grow even further.
Here Are 6 Things You Can Do With Your Solar Savings:
1. Purchase an Electric Car
Companies like Tesla, Nissan, Volkswagen, and other huge players are paving the way to a green future by producing various lineups of electric cars. These vehicles range from around $30,000 to upwards of $140,000. After just 10 years of using solar power, homeowners can save $40,000 or often more, making an electric vehicle purchase much easier. Additionally, in Massachusetts, consumers receive a tax credit for purchasing an EV. Along with cutting emissions and your gasoline costs, electric vehicles have other perks too.
What makes electric vehicles so compatible with solar panels is that EVs can be charged directly from solar panels. You will no longer have to worry about the cost of gasoline going up. The average American spends around $3,000 on gasoline each year, equalling about $250 per month. These costs can be avoided by pairing electric vehicles with solar panels, saving homeowners who go solar even more money every year. The combination of solar power and electric vehicles cuts down fuel and carbon emissions, making an even more positive environmental impact.
2. Finance an Education
According to a report issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the U.S. spends more on college tuition than almost any other country. State schools in Massachusetts can cost as much as $25,000 annually and private schools can be as much as $60,000 or more per year.
It is completely possible to pay your children’s college tuition with the savings accumulated over time by going solar. Solar incentive earnings can be directly deposited into a college fund or other savings account, or you can put your monthly electric bill savings aside and watch it grow. You will be investing in your child’s education while you help to ensure they also have a brighter, healthier future. If you start your solar journey today, in 25 years you could accrue energy savings and earnings of $100,000 or more.
3. Undergo Home Improvements
Sustainable home improvement practices are on the rise. Investing in eco-friendly and non-toxic carpets and countertops, upgrading to a tankless water heater, or replacing old drafty doors with more energy-efficient doors are just a few options. A more energy-efficient door could save you as much as 10% on your heating and cooling cost. What’s great about solar is it’s a home improvement that can pay you back before you even sell your house. Making your home more energy efficient is now standard practice for remodeling and building.
These changes not only make your home more appealing, but they add to your home value and monthly savings. Energy efficiency upgrades in a home increase its market value. Studies show homebuyers often pay at least 4% more for a home that has green features or solar panels. By investing in more energy-efficient appliances, homeowners save around $500 a year.
4. Invest in Green Stocks
Renewable energy stocks and other green investments are gaining major momentum. Companies like Brookfield Renewable Partners (NYSE:BEP), Tesla (TESLA:TSLA) and SunPower (SP:SPWR) are showing upward trends. Now is the right time for investors to add money and invest in green stocks. Apps like Robinhood, Acorns, and E*Trade let you invest small amounts of money in renewable energy stocks. By investing in green industries, you aren’t just earning money through investment returns, but you’re supporting a green economy and a more sustainable future.
5. Pay For Everyday Expenses
Every day bills can add pressure to household budgets. The average family of four spends as much as $7,000 a month for housing, transportation, and taxes. Groceries, dining, clothing, entertainment, water, heating, and other household needs can quickly add up. Extra cash you earn monthly from your solar energy savings can help make these bills less cumbersome.
6. Travel With Your Loved Ones
These funds from going solar can be designated for a well-deserved vacation with the family or a few weekend trips. The money you save yearly just by using solar power can help pay for an extravagant trip overseas, a cruise, rent a beach house, or ski lodge. For a family of 4, a vacation can cost over $4,000, but more cost-effective trips include camping, road trips, and weekend getaways. The money accrued by installing a solar system can open doors to new destinations and experiences.
Solar Panels Are a Smart Investment
Saving with solar is easy. With predictable electric bill savings, tax credits, and incentives solar owners can earn a huge amount of savings and see a full return on investment. This is especially true in Massachusetts, where the average return on investment for solar is 6-8 years, and customers are usually cash-flow positive after then. Plus, solar customers reduce their carbon footprints to help make way for a cleaner planet.
Start Saving With Solar Panels
Interested in learning more about solar? Our team can answer any question you have about solar panels and what you can expect for a payback.