Town resolution aims for 100% renewable energy

The state of solar in Salem

The City of Salem committed to transitioning all municipal buildings to 100% clean energy as quickly as possible and is encouraging businesses and residents to do the same in 2016. Those efforts are paying off, as the city received a Leading by Example award in 2018 for its sustainability programs. Around 88% of the rooftops in Salem are solar viable*—yours is probably one of them.

How much solar energy does Salem produce?

Back in 2012, Salem was home to just 34 solar systems generating 618 kW of solar power, equating to roughly 0.015 watts per person. Since then, solar growth in the area has increased exponentially. As of 2019, Salem has over 500 solar installations.

As part of the 2019 Solarize Mass program alone, the city added 35 new systems capable of generating 215.43 kW of electricity. Prior to that, between 2017 and 2018, Salem also installed two large solar arrays—696 kW atop Witchcraft Heights Elementary School and 275 kW on Bentley Academy Charter School—for a total of 921 kW. Those systems have saved the city $349,145 as of 2021 while reducing carbon emissions in our community by 800 metric tons, the equivalent of removing 171 vehicles off the road for a year!

What are the advantages of going solar in Salem?

While electricity rates in Salem are lower than in some areas of Massachusetts, they are still a little over 10% higher than the national average.* Solar power prices, on the other hand, have dropped 45% over the past five years.* Salem also offers various incentive programs for qualifying residential and business property owners.

Given this, switching to solar has the potential to offer significant electricity cost savings. A 5 kW solar system could lead to savings as high as $32,000 over 20 years and may pay for itself within just six to seven years.*

Once you break even on your installation costs, you’ll enjoy virtually free energy. If your solar system is appropriately sized and you install a backup battery or take advantage of net metering, you may even eliminate your electricity bill.*

Net metering allows you to send any excess electricity your system produces back to your provider for a credit on your bill to offset any usage from the grid. Opting for a grid-tied system also offers other benefits in Massachusetts.

The Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target program offers a per-kWh incentive for systems under 5 MW for a duration of 10 years for systems under 25 kW and 20 years for systems over 25 kW. Incentives rates vary based on system size, electric utility provider, and the current "block" the system is in (incentives decrease over time). They range from $0.14288 per kWh to $0.391.*

The average rooftop in Salem can accommodate a 7.5 kW solar system, which would produce about 8,600 kWh of electricity per year with a fully optimized system.* At that production rate, this incentive alone could be worth between $1,228 and $3,362 per year!

How much does solar cost in Salem?

salem sunpower solar

The cost of a home solar system can vary, even in the same city, due to a range of factors, including:

  • Quality of equipment, panels, and accessories

  • Roof type

  • Household energy needs

  • Dealer discounts and financing

To help you understand the price of going solar in your area, we've analyzed SunPower price quotes, as well as quotes gathered by third-party sources for thousands of homeowners across the country.* In Salem, we found that the cost of owning a 5 kW solar system ranges from $15,900 to $29,950, or in other words, from $3.18 to $5.99 per watt. And that's before considering the benefits of any available tax credits or incentives.

On top of net metering and the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target program, Massachusetts also offers a state income tax credit equal to 15% of any renewable energy expenditures you make up to $1,000. This credit is non-refundable but can be carried over to subsequent years. At a federal level, there’s the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which allows you to request a credit of 26% of your solar installation costs so long as you purchased rather than leased the system.*

What’s the best way to go solar in Salem?

As every house is different, the best solar setup will vary from home to home. Additionally, not all solar systems offer the same quality, appearance, and durability. The best way to maximize your return on investment is to work with a reputable solar provider.

They can help you evaluate your roof space and choose a system size and type that will work well for your budget, available roof space, and specific energy needs. You should also be provided a custom solar design, cost and savings estimate, and overview of any incentives available to you.

If you’re ready to take the first step in going solar in Salem, request a consultation, and we’ll follow up with a quick call to schedule a time. You can also call us directly at (800) 786-7693.

Looking for commercial solar in Salem?

SunPower is the #1 Commercial Solar Provider in the U.S. since 2017.* Schedule a commercial solar consultation today.

  • *. Google, Project Sunroof data explorer (November 2018).
  • *. Electricity Local. Salem Electricity Rates. May 2021.
  • *. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Massachusetts Solar. Q4 2020.
  • *. Energy Sage. Solar Panels in Salem, MA. May 2021.
  • *. The availability of net metering varies by location and is subject to change. Please visit the dsireusa.org website for detailed solar policy information.
  • *. The availability incentives is subject to change. Please visit the dsireusa.org website for detailed solar policy information.
  • *. Google, Project Sunroof data explorer (November 2018).
  • *. Local Solar Installers 2020/2021, Solar Reviews 2021, Energy Sage 2021, Wood Mackenzie 2020, National Renewable Energy Laboratory 2020
  • *. The availability of tax credits is subject to change. Please visit the dsireusa.org website for detailed solar policy information.
  • *. Wood MacKenzie, US PV Leaderboard (March 2021). SunPower ranked #1 in cumulative commercial volume 2017-2020.
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