Launched in December 2015, the $30 million Massachusetts Solar Loan program is a low-income solar loan program through which the state will provide interest rate buy-downs and loan guarantees. The goal of the program is to provide loans that are cash-flow positive from day one, and provide risk protection for lenders who offer these loans to homeowners with lower credit ratings. Massachusetts Solar Loan program is applicable to homeowners, owner-occupied multifamily homes with three or fewer units, or residents interested in purchasing a share in a community shared solar project.
Solar providers in Massachusetts have also successfully used existing federal and state incentives like the Investment Tax Credit and New Markets Tax Credit to develop affordable multifamily solar. Boston Community Capital (BCC), a Community Development Finance Institution, offers an example of this. Since 2008, BCC has developed more than four megawatts of both rooftop and ground-mounted solar in Massachusetts. Two thirds of those four megawatts serve affordable, multifamily housing and typically meet 100 percent of common area electricity needs and occasionally directly meet tenants needs as well. BCC provides the upfront capital and captures the available incentives, including tax credits, to bring these benefits directly to multifamily housing. BCC owns the solar systems and as a result monetizes both the ITC and NMTC and thus offers the housing developments savings with no up-front costs. BCC also maintains the solar systems at no cost to the housing development.