Solar Photovoltaic (PV)

Solar Energy is infinitely renewable and can be used to replace carbon-based fossil fuels, reducing air emissions of greenhouse gases and toxic air pollutants. Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are the most common source of renewable energy in Chelmsford, with about 100 residential systems in use. Solar PV systems save money on electricity and a typical homeowner will prevent 7 tons of CO2 from being generated every year, equivalent to the carbon sequestered by 6 acres of forest. 

On your home, a collection of panels is mounted on racks a few inches above the roof. Your roof should be within 40 degrees of south-facing and not shaded much by trees or buildings. The roof should have at least 8 years of remaining life, but a new roof (and even tree removal) can be part of the tax-deductible system cost (Option A below).


Call 2-3 PV installers for competitive quotes on PPA or purchase options (A or B below). Or, join a program like Mass Solar Connect that takes advantage of group-buying discounts and uses the online installer bidding platform Energy Sage.

If your house is a good candidate the installers will come out to look at the roof and your electric panel, to get information for their proposal. Your cost is nothing until you decide to move ahead with a contract.

Compare quotes and options, and discuss financing and the installation schedule with your bidders. Select a winner, get hooked up and start saving! Need More Information? Check the Solar PV FAQ or the Blog.

You save money on the cost of electricity, or can actually make money if you purchase a system and have a good solar exposure. The typical financing options are:

Option A: Purchase a PV system with savings or use a home equity loan that is typically paid off in 5-7 years. The payback comes from tax credits, energy savings, and SRECs. The PV system produces electricity for about 25 years. A typical return on investment (ROI) is 10-20% accounting for the value of the free electricity that continues for the life of the system. The payback period may be longer or the ROI may be lower if your house is not a great candidate for solar. 

Option B: Agree to a PPA or lease in which the homeowner pays nothing up front but agrees to the use of the roof for a set period, and agree to purchase electricity at a reduced rate. The homeowner does not make a profit as in Option A, but there is little or no investment. Option B may not be available if your house is not a great candidate for solar due to poor orientation or too much shade.