Buyers Will Pay More for Solar Panel Homes


We’ve said before that the value of your home goes up when you add solar panels to your rooftop, but now research from the Department of Energy backs us up with a bang!

An average-sized photovoltaic systems (3.6 kilowatts) offers a huge bump in overall home sales.

A joint study between the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California and the DOE studies home sales for 23,000 homes in eight states between 1999 and 2013. The 4,000 homes that had solar panel systems were worth an extra $15,000 to home buyers, which averages to about an extra $4 per watt. Remember, this is homes that purchased their solar system instead of leasing them through a solar company.

Ben Hoen, the lead author of the report, said that other studies on solar energy systems and the premium they add to homes has been limited, both in size and scope. “We more than doubled the number of PV home sales analyzed, examined a number of states outside of California, and captured the market during the recent housing boom, bust, and recovery.”

According to The New York Times, as of mid-2014, over 500,000 homes had solar systems, and the real estate industry is trying to catch up with this booming green tech. However, homeowners have to know how to finance solar panels. When you lease panels, especially in parts of the country where solar panels are less common, it can potentially be detrimental to the overall value of your home. That’s because owning the solar panels is considered an asset, while leasing them is a liability you must take on for decades.

Fannie Mae has pointed out to appraisers that they should raise the value of homes with solar systems, the Times article points out that builders who have installed solar panels appraised homes at a higher value. However, they’ve been hindered by bank reviewers who may not know anything about solar panels. Despite how many consumers are willing to pay more for homes that automatically keep electric bills lower, lenders don’t realize this is yet a great value add.

“The growth in home PV systems means that the real estate industry will need reliable methods to value these homes appropriately. Further, having greater certainty in those methods will likely facilitate additional growth in the residential PV market,” added Hoen.

So what’s a green, conscientious homeowner to do? With rebates and tax credits galore, the clear winner is to go solar regardless. Financing is much cheaper than it used to be, and studies like these prove how much solar is seen as an extra value on any home. If you’re looking to install a solar system of your own but also plan to sell your house soon, check with your real estate agent, appraiser, and bank to let them know just how much this will add overall to your home’s value. Explaining just how much PV systems like these can increase your home sale profit margins can help you sell your home even faster.

Have you sold a home with a solar panel system recently? Were you able to get more for you home because of it? Tell us in the comments!


Image Credit: Alex McGregor under a Creative Commons license

  • by Nadia Osman
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  • March 4, 2015