Concord, Massachusetts, the Home of Walden Pond and now The Concord Solar Challenge

Concord Solar Challenge

Solarize Concord - Credit L Challis Jensen


Massachusetts is a state with many incentives designed to encourage homeowners to switch to renewable energy sources, including solar power.  Concord, a city in Massachusetts and home of famed Walden Pond, is going the extra mile to offer even more reasons for homeowners to make an investment in clean energy.


The Concord Solar Challenge runs through July 31st and seeks to make “going solar” affordable for homeowners as well as nonprofits and businesses.

The Concord Solar Challenge

Several entities worked together to make the Concord Solar Challenge possible, including:

  • The Town of Concord Comprehensive Sustainable Energy Committee (CSEC),
  • Concord-Carlisle High School’s Environmental Field Studies Group, and
  • Concord Climate Action Network (ConcordCAN).

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” - Henry David Thoreau


It’s so fitting that Concord is a town working collaboratively toward helping the environment by encouraging homeowners and businesses to switch to a clean energy source.  After all, one of the most impactful pieces of literature in American history is Walden, based on Henry David Thoreau’s two year, two month, and two-day experience of bonding with pure nature on Walden Pond in Concord.


The goal of this localized solar challenge is to get 100 more solar PV installations for residences as well as a sizeable increase in solar installations among local nonprofits and businesses.  The first five participants in the program will receive Concord gift certificates worth $250, and a bonus of $100 is given for each referral made.

How does the new incentive work?  The more new installations there are, the better the rates will be for everyone. Concord has chosen a contractor to work with that will offer lower costs as more total capacity is reached. The initial pricing will be $3.90 per watt and when the challenge achieves 150 kilowatt (kW) hours, the price for everyone involved in the challenge will drop to $3.80.  If the challenge reaches 250 kW, the price will drop to $3.70.

Additional Solar Incentives:

Besides this local incentive, homeowners can take advantage of the following:

  • A 30% federal investment tax credit
  • Concord Light rebate of up to $3,125
  • A $1,000 Massachusetts state tax credit
  • Accelerated depreciation
  • Bonus depreciation in the first year
  • 100 percent Massachusetts corporate excise tax reduction
  • Eligibility to participate in Massachusetts’ Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) system, which can be a source of ongoing revenue

This may be the best time ever for homeowners to switch to solar power.  The solar PV systems typically last 25 years or more, and payback periods for the cost of the system plus installation should be in the range of four or five years, as long as the solar panels have access to plenty of sunlight.

Many homeowners can expect to save approximately $1,000 per year on energy costs, in addition to monies earned on SRECs.

Involvement of Students from Concord-Carlisle High School

Students in the Environmental Field Studies Group from Concord-Carlisle High School have been diligent in the search for homes in Concord which are ideal for solar panels.  Students have spent several months on the project.

The Town Clerk provided the students with a complete list of streets, and using that information along with the town’s Geographic Information System (GIS), the students identified 1,700 homes which have roofs that face south and are suitable for the installation of solar PV panels.  The next step is that the students plan to hang door flyers on each of the homes which have clear potential for being viable locations for the production of solar power.

Contact Higgins Energy Solar Store in Massachusetts if you are interested in learning more about solar energy systems and installation.

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  1. This is a great program! It looks very similar to the very successful Solarize Mass program run by the state. Is it also eligible for the Commonwealth Solar II Rebates?



  2. Richard K. Fields says:

    I recently received a brochure from students at Concord Carlise HS seeking my receptivity to a solar installation on my roof. They indicate that my site was one of 100 such ideal sites in our town. unfotunately, i misplaced the correspondence and did not respond to the reqested expression of interest as a participant in the possible places that might be able to site solar panels. So, i am writing this message to let them know that I am interested in considering such but finances at this time is the only issue that i can think of as being a potential barrier. I ask them to contact me me should there is still some interest.

    Richard K. Fields 978-371-0203