To protect consumers and level the playing field between large and small solar installers, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) has chosen Mass Energy Consumers Alliance and EnergySage to administer the 2017 Mass Solar Connect program.
Mass Solar Connect offers a simplified and trustworthy solar shopping experience. By leveraging an online solar marketplace powered by Boston-based EnergySage, the Mass Solar Connect platform allows solar shoppers to compare quotes online from up to seven local solar installers, each of whom have been vetted by both the MassCEC and EnergySage. The quotes have standardized assumptions when calculating the financial benefits, offering a true apples-to-apples comparison. The shopper retains control over how much contact information, if any, they chose to share with installers. The customer experience can be completed entirely online through the platform, which is now live.
Two years ago, the program helped 261 Massachusetts homeowners install rooftop solar affordably.
“Our partnerships with nonprofit groups like MassEnergy and marketplace provider EnergySage help spur the adoption of renewable energy across Massachusetts and drive down the associated costs of installation,” said MassCEC CEO Stephen Pike. “Through these key partnerships, the Commonwealth is increasing access to solar energy for its residents while diversifying the state’s clean energy portfolio.”
Independent studies show that getting multiple quotes from a vendor-neutral marketplace such as EnergySage, rather than contacting solar installers individually, yields significant savings driven by competition. Mass Solar Connect aims to save solar shoppers 10 – 20 percent by allowing them to easily compare multiple competitive quotes side-by-side from a range of installers. “Currently, most people are only exposed to the information that reaches them from the solar companies with the biggest marketing budgets,” says Taylor. “But we have the fourth fastest growing market for solar here in our state, and therefore many excellent installers. This program will allow people to shop more locally and benefit from greater competition.”
The cost of solar continues to decline and payback periods are shrinking fast. In fact, Massachusetts has one of the shortest break even points of any state in the country. A recent local case study recorded on EnergySage’s website shows a payback period of just over four years. With a Mass Solar Loan, designed by the state to make solar accessible to all Mass homeowners regardless of income levels, financing solar ownership has become feasible for households that might not have been able to afford it in the past.
Mass Solar Connect is targeted at Mass Energy members, but is open to anyone who wants to shop for solar for a property in Massachusetts, including commercial properties. More than 200 households have already registered their homes.
— Solar Builder magazine