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How Solar Affects Selling Your Home

A common question people ask when making the decision to go solar is how will having solar affect selling the house?

The first thing to note is that according to a few independent studies, solar definitely increases a home’s value.

The National Bureau of Economic Research did a study in 2011 comparing statistics for home sales in Both the San Diego and Sacramento areas and concluded that solar panels typically increase a home’s value by 3.5%. It even went as high as 4.5% in communities with higher percentages of college graduates and Toyota Prius owners.

Another Study done by US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2011 concluded that homes with solar sold for more across California. The amounts ranged from $3.90 to $6.40 per watt more with the average amount being $5.50 per watt.

A follow up study in 2015 by the same Berkeley Lab in partnership with Sandia National Laboratories looked at home sales across many states and found that the solar increased the homes’ values by an average of $4 per watt.

According to these studies, it appears that in most cases, installing solar will increase a home’s value by more than the cost of the install.

On top of the increased values, NREL has also released statistics showing that homes with solar sell 17% faster on average than homes without solar. So, not only will you get more money, but your solar home is likely to sit on the market for less time.

What these studies don’t account for is homes with a solar lease or PPA agreement. In these cases, either the home buyer must take over the lease or PPA agreement or the buyer or seller must “buy out” of the lease agreement.

There is a general perception that these types of solar agreements would cause problems with selling the home, but Berkley Lab worked on this too. They conducted interviews and online surveys of home buyers, sellers and real estate agents that were involved in the sales of home with solar lease and PPA agreements between 2010 and 2013. The evidence collected suggests that the solar lease or PPA had no negative effect on the sale. Both buyers and sellers were satisfied with their experiences.

If you are planning to lease solar or enter into a PPA agreement, you should look at the contract and what it stipulates for the sale of the home. Keep in mind that while you think you will stay in your home forever, life happens and things change. You should always be aware of what you getting into before signing a contract that could affect the sale of your home.

No matter how you purchased the solar, it is always best to let it stay with the house when you sell it. Once you have gotten used to the low electric bills, it can be difficult to go back to purchasing all your electricity from the power company, but, you can shop for a new home that already has the solar installed or you can have solar installed once you move in to your new place. Either of these options will be much simpler than moving an existing system from one home to another.

Another tip for homeowners is if you do have solar and want to sell your home it is best to find a real estate agent that is experienced with selling solar homes. This will increase your chances of selling fast and at the best price.


Author: Harold Tan

I believe clean, renewable energy is key to the evolution of society as a whole. Solar powers our planet, why not harness it to power humanity? Let's power our homes, our work, and our vehicles with solar energy. It begins with raising awareness and encouraging those around us to go green.

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