Solar panels and home property value

5 Replies

I'm wondering what effect if any buying solar panels would have on the home?

Let me know if you have had any experience with this.

I work for a solar company and we have market data that says solar adds value. I want to say over 1000$ so that can be a third of the cost of the system if not more. Then you might get rebate money, or tax credit. Can be a good pay back.

@Roland Brown

I have looked into investing in solar panels for my house. Hoping the resale value would be higher if I decide to sell. Plus it's good for the environment! 

However, the payback period was too long, and after talking to realtors, it doesn't really give you much ROI - at least now. Plus the biggest factor - for me - is I have too many trees in my backyard.

I was hoping to capture some of the tax incentives with solar, but with the price of solar dropping and getting more efficient, it might not make a difference in a few years when the technology improves and there are no longer any tax incentives.

Ultimately it depends on your area. 

Just as background for what's about to come, I have worked in the solar industry for the past ~3 years in sales/design/engineering.

The research shows that solar add's roughly $4 / DC watt.  So a 3.6 KW system will add roughly $14,400 to the home's value. Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/realestate/solar...

In practice, it's hit or miss and depends HEAVILY on what market you operate in.  Here in San Diego, where we pay some of the highest prices in the country for power, solar panels are very desirable for new owners.  I can't speak for other markets.

Also, it should be noted that the above figure of $4 / DC watt applies only to owner owned systems. In other words, this does not include leases, PPA's, or other third party owned forms of financing.  I've had several customers get hit with nasty lease buyout charges when the buyer decided they don't want to assume the contract.  No matter what, if you intend to sell the home you should be buying the system outright.

@Roland Brown I see you are in Texas.  From what I know Texas has one of the more complicated setups in the country.  Meaning how exactly you are credited for the solar you produce will depend on the local utilities net metering policies.  Also, Texans tend not to pay too much for solar to being with.  Also note that if the home is not your primary residence, you may not be able to claim the solar investment tax credit on your installation (though you may be able to claim accelerated depreciation).  Let me know if you have further questions on this.

I don't think they'll add much to the resale value, but they could be a competitive advantage against other non-solar homes in the neighborhood. Not to mention the money you'll save in the meantime.

No liens or SPPAs or encumbrances or second mortgages any of that, if you ever want to sell the home in a timely manner. 

When you go to sell it, in fact, you might as well completely ignore the COE stated on the purchase contract if you let them put any of that on title to the property. That COE doesn't factor in the solar company taking weeks and months to get the necessary paperwork over to the lender, nor does it include rate lock extension fees that your buyer very well might want taken out of the purchase price.

Chris Mason, Lender in CA (#1220177) and California (#1220177)
415-846-9211

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