Do home solar panels make sense in Fitchburg, Massachusetts?

Summary:

The median price of a 6 kilowatt home solar system in Fitchburg is about  $11,882.
That 6 kW system would generate about  $1,693 worth of electricity every year.
In 2019, you can qualify for a  30% federal tax credit. In Massachusetts, there are additional solar rebates available.
There are at least  20,813 homes in Buffalo with solar panels.
Learn more

Table of Contents:



How much do solar panels cost in Fitchburg, MA?

The average cost per watt of residential solar in Massachusetts is $4/watt. For comparison, the national average is $3.70/watt.

Cost per watt is the total installed cost of a system, including taxes, divided by the size of the system in watts (DC). It includes the cost of hardware plus installation costs. Cost per watt is always the gross cost, before incentives. This means, at a minimum, you can take 30% off the price of the system in 2019 because of federal tax incentives.

The cost of a solar panel system for your house in Fitchburg will depend on how much electricity you want to generate, which affects the size of the system you’ll need. The following is an example price estimate for a home solar panel system in Fitchburg, with an electricity generation estimate based on the local climate and the following assumptions:

• 583 kWh is the amount of electricity that the average Massachusetts home uses every month.
• 4.97 kilowatts is the size of the system you’ll need to generate 100% of this electricity from solar panels.
• 12 to 19 panels is what that translates to (depending on panel efficiency, which commonly ranges from 260 watts to 400 watts)
• Panels oriented due south and mounted on a shade-free roof at a 30° angle.

Gross system price$18,403This is the price of your system plus taxes but before incentives, based on an average cost of solar in your state of $4 per watt.
Federal tax credit of 30%$5,521The most important solar incentive in the nation, the federal solar tax credit, gives homeowners 30% off the cost of their system in 2019. It drops to 26% next year. Read more
Massachusetts state income tax credit: 15% off system costs up to $1,000$1,000The Massachusetts Department of Revenue offers a tax credit worth 15% off the cost of a renewable energy system (including solar panels) up to a maximum credit of $1,000. Learn more about this tax credit and other rebates in our article about Massachusetts solar incentives.
Net system price:$11,882

This estimate is based on averages but your home, of course, may be different. For a personalized estimate, grab a copy of your utility bill and use our calculator to plug in the numbers for your home.



Can you save money with solar panels in Fitchburg, MA?

Every year, that hypothetical Fitchburg home solar system described above would produce about $1,693 worth of electricity. This is based on the Massachusetts state average price of electricity of $0.20/kWh and the average local climate.

But that’s just a home with average electricity usage. You might need more or fewer solar panels, depending on how much electricity you want to generate. Also, shade matters a lot. If you have trees or buildings throwing shadows on your roof, that could reduce your solar production by a lot.



Houses in Fitchburg with solar panels

In Fitchburg, our data shows that there are at least 733 houses with solar photovoltaic panels installed. This means that a lot of neighbors in your city are interested in solar, and have already made the leap. Added up, the total generating capacity of all these home solar systems equals 6,650 kilowatts. That’s a lot of clean energy being generated by your neighbors.

If you’re on the fence about going solar and trying to research whether solar is viable in the Fitchburg area, this is good news. It means many of your neighbors have made the calculation and decided that solar is a smart move for them in the long term. Next time you’re driving or walking around, take a look at the roofs in your neighborhood. You might find a surprising number of solar panels. Try talking to your neighbors with solar, and see how it’s worked out for them.



Solar photovoltaic panels turn sunlight into electricity, and the more sunlight you have, the better. However, one misconception is that solar panels only work in very sunny climates. While it’s true that you will generate more electricity in a sunny state like Arizona, you might be surprised to learn that solar can generate plenty of electricity in most places in the United States - even cloudier places like New England or the Northwest.



Fitchburg solar energy potential

To make a fair comparison of how much sunlight different cities get, we use a measurement called Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI). It takes into account the position of the sun in the sky throughout the year, cloud cover, airborne particulates, precipitation, and other climate variables.

The DNI for Fitchburg is 4.61, which means that it has a good amount of sunshine - about average for the United States.

4.61

Averaged over the full year, a Fitchburg home solar panel system will be generate a lot of solar electricity, although expect diminished production in the winter.

In the continental United States, DNI ranges from about 3.0 to 8.5 kWh/m2/day. In the most northern parts of Alaska, the DNI reaches a low of 0.5.

A higher DNI means more sunshine and more electricity generation by solar panels, but solar can be viable even with a lower DNI. For example, Germany has widespread solar PV, but a DNI of only about 2.5.

This DNI data comes from GEOS geostationary satellite data and NREL climate models.

Fitchburg
US low
US high

In some cities in the US, the amount of sunlight doesn’t change quite as much from summer to winter, while others see a big difference. These charts show you what to expect in Fitchburg.

Solar Energy by Month (DNI)


The graph below estimates how much a 6 kilowatt south-facing solar panel system would generate in Fitchburg.

Power Generation by Month (kWh)


The seasonal variation in solar electricity production in Fitchburg is quite small. In the peak month, a home photovoltaic system would produce 182% more electricity than in the lowest production month in winter. This is less of a variation than in many other climates in the US, and it means that even in the winter, you might not need to draw much electricity from the grid, and have less excess electricity to send into the grid in summer.



Fitchburg, MA solar companies

This is a list of solar home installations we know about within the city limits of Fitchburg, MA.

# of homes refers to the number of installations by the installer in the Fitchburg area that we have a record of. It’s possible that the installer has done more installations in the local area.
Total kW installed is the cumulative solar generation capacity of all the residential installations by the installer in Fitchburg.
Year of the most recent install is the most recent record of work done by the installer in Fitchburg. This lets you know if the company is active in the area, or hasn’t done work in some time (or even gone out of business).
Installer# of homesTotal kW installedYear of most recent install
1ST LIGHT SOLAR ENERGY7352016
ACHIEVE RENEWABLE ENERGY12062012
ALTERIS RENEWABLES2122011
AMERGY SOLAR3192016
APEX SOLAR152016
BORREGO SOLAR282009
BOSTON SOLAR3242016
BRIGHT PLANET SOLAR152017
BRIGHTSTAR SOLAR4322015
CERTIFIED SAFE ELECTRIC2122012
CORBIN SOLAR SOLUTIONS152012
DESIGN WITH NATURE2332016
DIRECT ENERGY SOLAR211682017
ENDLESS MOUNTAINS SOLAR SERVICES2142016
FALL RIVER ELECTRICAL ASSOCIATES CO11682013
FIRSTMARK ADVANTAGE282016
GEHRLICHER SOLAR AMERICA CORP18402013
GREAT SKY SOLAR4292016
GROSOLAR3142010
INDEPENDENT POWER SYSTEMS4282014
MARCHETTI ENGINEERING/RAUL BATALLAS ELECTRIC142009
MORSOLAR2112016
MOSS HOLLOW2202012
NEW ENGLAND CLEAN ENERGY3182012
NEXT STEP LIVING3102015
NORTH EAST SOLAR SERVICES2152015
NRG HOME SOLAR4252016
NV ENERGY182016
ONE ROOF ENERGY152016
OSTROW ELECTRIC2872011
REVOLUSUN5292016
RGS/REAL GOODS6342016
ROOF DIAGNOSTICS SOLAR & ELECTRIC432352016
ROOF DIAGNOSTICS SOLAR OF MASS, LLC5222014
SECOND GENERATION ENERGY1102015
SLABICH ELECTRIC31462005
SOLAR DESIGN ASSOCIATES222007
SOLARCITY2451,4302016
SOLARFLAIR ENERGY2102016
SOLECT ENERGY DEVELOPMENT14462015
SOLULAR132012
SUNGEVITY1102016
SUNLIGHT SOLAR ENERGY2112016
SUNRUN482962016
TECTA SOLAR13512011
TESLA151022017
TRANSFORMATIONS132010
TRINITY SOLAR281892016
TRUE ENTERPRISES LLC172015
UNITED SOLAR ASSOCIATES142015
VIVINT2331,4422017

Solar panel lease companies in Fitchburg

If you’re thinking about going with a solar lease or PPA, you should first read our guide to solar financing to make sure that you understand the pros and cons of a lease or PPA versus purchasing a system outright. In most cases, you will come out on top by buying your solar panels, even if that means taking out a loan.

That said, leases/PPAs continue to be popular, and they can be a good choice in some cases. There are several national solar installers that offer leases/PPAs, but not all of them operate in every state. Here’s a breakdown of some of the major solar installers that offer these types of contracts, and whether they operate in your state:

CompanyOperates in Massachusetts ?
SungevityYES
SunnovaYES
SunrunYES
Vivint SolarYES

Looking for solar panel cleaning companies in Fitchburg?

Are you searching for a local solar panel cleaning company? Stop and reconsider. Solar panel cleaning services can cost more than $100 per visit, and in the vast majority of cases the temporary increase in power generation you get will never make up for that cost. What should most people do? Just let the rain keep your panels clean. If you live in a dry and dusty area or frequently find bird poop or leaves on your panels, invest in some inexpensive equipment to take care of cleaning yourself. Read our guide to solar panel maintenance, which includes tips on solar panel cleaning and a some recommended cleaning equipment.

Contact solar companies in Fitchburg

Want to work with one of these companies? We screen companies to make sure that you work with qualified installers. Use our service to get multiple quotes from quality Fitchburg solar contractors.

Get quotes from solar installers in Fitchburg



Average Massachusetts electricity prices


The average price of residential electricity in Massachusetts is 20.06 cents per kilowatt hour, while the average price across the nation is 13.34 cents per kWh.

If you do the math, this means you are paying 50% more for electricity than the national average, which is a big premium.

With high electricity prices like this, it makes a lot of sense to consider whether solar panels are a good choice for your home. With the cost of solar hardware dropping all the time, if you have a suitable roof or yard for solar, it’s very likely that solar electricity will be cheaper than the high utility rates in your state.

Regardless of what your electricity prices are, by adding solar panels to your house and generating your own electricity, you’re locking in your cost of electricity for as long as your system is working, which will protect you from future rate increases by your utility. Given that many panels come with 25 year warranties, this is an investment that can last a long time.

Keep in mind that the price of electricity varies by utility, sometimes by a lot. The table below lists the average price of electricity for utilities in Massachusetts state. For current rates, check with your utility.

Company# CustomersAvg Price (¢/kWh)
City of Hingham - (MA)8,38314.43
City of Taunton33,45015.47
City of Chicopee - (MA)22,97412.50
City of Marblehead - (MA)9,65315.05
City of Holyoke - (MA)14,75212.35
City of Peabody - (MA)21,90411.65
City of Norwood - (MA)13,60114.65
City of Westfield - (MA)15,89413.83
Fitchburg Gas and Electric Light Company17,56822.93
Massachusetts Electric Co675,96120.88
NSTAR Electric Company618,19321.03
Nantucket Electric Co3,36224.27
Town of Braintree - (MA)13,90214.12
Town of Belmont - (MA)10,59421.03
Town of Concord - (MA)6,91815.77
Town of Danvers11,33415.22
Town of Hudson - (MA)11,24210.26
Town of Littleton - (MA)6,38011.29
Town of Ipswich - (MA)6,06813.99
Town of Mansfield - (MA)8,83912.22
Town of Middleborough - (MA)14,12212.91
Town of Middleton3,16213.66
Town of North Attleborough - (MA)12,05215.88
Town of Reading - (MA)26,39915.15
Town of Shrewsbury - (MA)14,38711.18
Town of South Hadley - (MA)7,07211.98
Town of Sterling - (MA)3,44913.12
Town of Wakefield - (MA)11,10615.04
Town of Wellesley - (MA)8,92114.48
Western Massachusetts Electric Company144,67718.98

Historical Massachusetts electricity prices, 2008 to 2017


The average price of residential electricity in Massachusetts, over the past ten years, is 17.07 cents per Kilowatt hour. This is 41% more than than the US average price of 12.07 cents per kWh. Because your state historically has had high electricity prices, there’s a good chance that prices will continue to be high in the future. This is a good argument for going solar.

Why is this important to know? Depending on the size of your system, owning home solar reduces or eliminates the effect of electricity price increases.


Historical Massachusetts electricity prices (cents per kilowatt hour)

MA prices
US prices
2008200920102011201220132014201520162017
MA prices17.56¢16.87¢14.59¢14.67¢14.91¢15.83¢17.39¢19.83¢19.00¢20.06¢
US prices11.26¢11.51¢11.54¢11.72¢11.88¢12.13¢12.52¢12.65¢12.55¢12.89¢


By looking at the trend in electricity prices over the past decade, you can get a better idea of whether high or low prices in your state are a recent change, or part of a long term trend. Because solar panels last a really long time (most come with 25 year power warranties), going solar protects you from future changes in electricity price. Basically, by paying for a system now, you can lock in your cost of electricity for two or even three decades.



Environmental report for Massachusetts electricity

Depending on the type of fuel they use, power plants produce differing amounts of air pollution. This is measured as units of pollution per megawatt hour (mWh) of electricity.

For every mWh of electricity generated, Massachusetts power plants produce on average:

  • 385 kilograms of CO2, which is 16% less than the US average of 459 kg.
  • 89 grams of SO2, which is 78% less than the US average of 411 g.
  • 278 grams of NOx, which is 25% less than the US average of 373 g.

In the power generation estimate listed above, The Solar Nerd calculator determined that an unshaded, south-facing 6 kilowatt PV system would generate about 8,439 kWh in an average year.

This means that putting a 6 kW solar panel system on your house would prevent 3,249 kilograms of CO2, 751 grams of SO2, and 2,346 grams of NOx from being emitted into the atmosphere.

The carbon offset of these solar panels would be about equivalent to planting 189 trees every year! (One deciduous tree left to grow for 10 years offsets 17.2 kg of CO2, according to the EPA.)

MA state average electricity emissions
MA
US
Glossary:
CO2 is carbon dioxide and is a primary greenhouse gas.
SO2 is sulphur dioxide. It damages the human respiratory system and contributes to acid rain.
NOx refers to nitrogen oxides, which contribute to smog, acid rain, and lung damage.


Calculate your home solar incentives for Fitchburg

Use our calculator to determine the financial payback of a home solar systemand to get a solar performance estimate customized to your home, including federal, state, and local incentives.



Ready to go solar in Fitchburg?

Use our free service to find qualified solar contractors and get multiple quotes on a solar panel installation in Buffalo.

Home solar quotes in Fitchburg
Sources:
This report was prepared with data from the good people at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Data, the US Energy Information Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.