Making a decision regarding home solar energy systems is not always easy. There are many factors to consider, such as finance, scale, timing and above all, the possibility that you can invest in something else that yields more energy or greater benefit. However, a recent study done at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory reveals a new benefit that might just tilt the scale in favor of solar.
U.S Department of Energy's Berkeley National Laboratory conducted a study titled "Appraising Into the Sun: Six-State Solar Home Paired-Sales Analysis" which aimed to analyze the influence of existing solar installations on house pricing. The study analyzed 43 houses in 6 states across the U.S including California, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon and Pennsylvania and it provided some very interesting results.
Probably the most significant finding from the whole study is that homes with host-owned home solar energy systems sell at a premium compared to homes without solar installations. This refers to homes with photovoltaic or PV installations and there is quite a bit of science behind the results.
Buyers in every state on the above mentioned list were prepared to offer more for homes with pre-existing solar installations, but in no area did the premium approach the gross PV cost estimate. Researchers conducting the study comment that this is due to the 30% federal Investment Tax Credit and other incentives, which make the systems much cheaper than their gross value.
Should all of these incentives disappear in the future, we can certainly expect the premium to rise closer to gross value. However, even with the current math, it seems that solar is a long lasting investment that adds a lot of value to a home. Quoting from the study itself "On average, PV systems (all of which were less than 12 years old) garnered premiums in each of the six states, with an average of $3.78/W."
Short answer -no! Home solar energy systems do make your home more valuable, but they do nothing to speed up the selling process. Contrary to many over exaggerated claims on the Internet, this study concluded that adding a PV system on top will not make a home get snatched off the market faster.
The increase in house value is closely tied to the usefulness of the solar system itself. Ideally, a system should be efficient and sized well to supply the energy needs of the home in order to boost its value. Furthermore, it's highly important to show that the system actually saves money. To put it in simple terms, areas with higher price per kilowatt actually make home solar energy systems more valuable as they generate greater savings.
The increased value of homes with an existing solar installation has a lot to do with all the advantages that solar presents. However, in some states utilities are trying to impose higher charges to those who use solar. No doubt, if that trend continues to grow, people will be discouraged to use solar panels and the value of housing with solar installations will drop.
Still, with the U.S government backing renewable energy projects and chasing carbon emission goals, solar is not going away anytime soon. There are over a million solar installations currently in the U.S and that number will continue to grow. As solar technology develops, it is expected to become more and more favorable for residential use.
If you wish to discuss more about the local price of electricity and the advantages presented by solar, give us a call. Our team will be happy to provide you with a free consultation.