The state of Massachusetts has one of the most generous solar incentive programs in the country. For that reason, they are personally vested that the solar installations they fund are viable. This is why the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) mandates reaching 80% of optimal production to qualify forthe residential solar rebate. However, commercial solar installations may receive a partial rebate for projects that meet or exceed 65% ofoptimal production but do not meet the 80% production requirement.
So what does 80% of optimal production mean? Optimal productionoccurs at a site that has a 180 degree azimuth (True South), 42 degreeroof tilt, and zero shading. A Massachusetts solar installer would compare the production of your potential installation using yourazimuth, tilt, and shading factors with that of an optimal site. Ifyour home does not reach 80% of optimal production, then Massachusetts will not pay out a rebate. This analysis should be done upfront, andyour contractor should give you this information prior to signing acontract and proceeding with the rebate application.
Another common question we get from customers is how Massachusetts enforces this requirement. There are a few ways that the state checks that the information given to them is correct:
1. They require a minimum of 7 photographs of the site location, including:
- 1 photo of the PV project location taken from the south looking northward toward the building or site
- 1 aerial image of the site from MSFT/Bing Virtual Earth, Google Earth, or a similar source
- 5 photos showing a 180 degree panoramic view, or 180degree photographs with a superimposed sun path grid (e.g. Solar PathFinder, Solmetric SunEye, etc .)
2. A detailed spreadsheet of production estimate calculations is also required.
3. The state also asks for a site plan showing the location ofcritical PV components, array orientation, and all majorfoliage/structures/landmarks in the vicinity of the PV project that mayimpact performance.
4. The MassCEC has a right to conduct a post-installation inspection prior to approving a rebate payment.
If your site does not meet 80% of optimal production, you can decideto forgo the rebate and continue with a solar project, or reject theproject altogether. It is in your best interest financially to have asite close to optimal production in order to get the highest return onyour investment.
A rebate is only one of many incentives available for Massachusetts solar installations. If you’re thinking about solar for your Massachusetts home or business, rebates are not available for do-it-yourself projects and you will have to involve a solar professional to qualify. A Massachusetts solar installer, like Brightstar Solar, can help you determine if you have the rightsite for solar and talk about the broad range of incentives availablefor your installation. Contact us now for a complimentary evaluation and free estimate!
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