How_Solar_Works_MassCECRooftop solar: power your home with clean energy (courtesy Mass Clean Energy Center)

If you’ve been considering solar power for environmental or financial reasons, 2023 is a great time for Winchester residents to go solar. First, federal solar tax credits increased to 30 percent, up from 22 percent in 2022.  Second, Winchester now partners with EnergySage, a company dedicated to making solar affordable and accessible. EnergySage provides a user-friendly online application, impartial Solar Advisors, and easily allows  you to request and evaluate quotes from local, vetted installers. You’ll save even more since Winchester residents who proceed with a solar project via EnergySage receive a $200 rebate. Visit EnergySage's dedicated site for Winchester residents here

Shaded roof? EnergySage also offers a Community Solar option:  you can purchase a share of solar power produced elsewhere and still receive the financial and environmental benefits of going solar. 

Installing solar panels on your roof takes advantage of two great resources: free and abundant sunlight, and generous financial incentives. Not every roof is a good candidate for solar power, but many are. Solar power can reduce your utility bills. If you also install a backup battery, you can power your home at night and during power outages.

There are two types of rooftop solar panels: photovoltaic and solar hot water.

Photovoltaic (PV). Solar PV generates electricity for use in a home or other building. There are two basic ownership models: own and lease. There are many solar PV companies to choose from, and we recommend that you get multiple quotes. Visit EnergySage's dedicated site for Winchester residents here

Solar hot water. These systems generate domestic hot water for use in showers, sinks, washing machines, etc. They do not generate electricity, although it is often possible to locate both solar hot water and PV panels on the same roof. Solar hot water systems are highly efficient, and with a suitably-sized storage tank water heated on one day is plenty hot for morning showers the next day.  These systems tend to be much more affordable to install than solar PV, and benefit from generous financial incentives. The Mass Clean Energy Center hosts an excellent solar hot water website.

Financial Incentives. Generous financial incentives exist for both solar PV and solar hot water systems. Purchase of either type of system is eligible for up to 30 percent federal tax credit - click here for more details. There is also a $1,000 Mass. personal income tax credit. The Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program, which is run by the electric utilities, offers monthly incentive payments for solar production that last ten years. Finally, owners of solar PV systems can sell excess power generation to the utilities at a favorable rate thanks to the Massachusetts Net Metering program. Most solar installers are familiar with solar incentive programs and can help customers fill out the right paperwork.

Additional Resources

Mass Clean Energy Center solar website - lots of useful information about solar power, financing mechanisms and financial incentives.

The Mass Clean Energy Center's Clean Energy Lives Here website also contains extremely useful information about solar PV and solar hot water.