In Slow Economy, Homes with Solar Panels Sell Better

Consider this, you are one of the lucky few that are shopping for a home and you locate one with solar panels offsetting the electric bill and one without which one would you choose? Choosing a solar home over a non-solar home is a no-brainer for most folks. Though there are many studies out there, you do not need a PhD to figure that one out that a solar home stabilizes your future expenses.

You are not alone in your thoughts. Many people already are with you according to two recent economic studies that found homes with solar panel electric systems sell for a premium over homes without solar panels.

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) released a report last month concluding that homes with solar panels sell for about 3 -4 percent more than their conventional counterparts especially in areas with a large number of college graduates and registered Prius owners.

A study from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which came out in April, discovered that solar panels boosted home prices by about $3.90 to $6.40 per watt or $17,000 for a 3,100-watt home solar system.

Both reports analyzed home sales in California, the largest market for home solar in the U.S., with nearly 1,000 mega watts of solar capacity installed, according to the Berkeley Lab.

NBER’s economists compared statistics of homes sold in San Diego County in the 1990s and Sacramento County in the 2000s, while the Berkeley Lab reviewed home sales in the 2000s throughout California.

Both reports concluded that the sales price premium afforded by a solar panels is comparable to the cost to install the system, minus the federal and state rebates, allowing the homeowner to recover their first investment.

“Home solar creates a sizable effect,” said Ryan Wiser, a Berkeley Lab scientist and co-author of the Lab’s study. “This research might influence the decisions of homeowners considering installing a home solar system and of home buyers considering buying a home with solar panels already installed. Even new home builders that are contemplating solar as a component of their homes can benefit from this research.”

The Berkeley Lab’s research also found that the boosted sales price decreases as the solar array ages, likely due to the system’s decreasing efficiency and expected remaining lifespan.

But have local real estate agents in the San Francisco Bay Area encountered a similar trend?

“My experience has been that solar panels do not add value…the sales price on two homes with solar I sold did not increase in spite of heavy marketing about the home solar panels,” said David Bergman, Silicon Valley real estate agent with Intero Real Estate Services.

John Thompson, Intero’s executive vice president and managing officer of their Los Altos office, reported that the effect of a home solar system on home price is similar to other home improvement and remodeling projects a finding also noted by the NBER report.

“It certainly helps to have nice features in the home that add value but it does not necessarily bring dollar-for-dollar fulfillment value or more than what was spent,” Thompson said.

Thompson pointed out traditional characteristics like location, lot size, square footage, floor plan and number of bedrooms and bathrooms still guide prospective home buyers’ purchasing decisions. Solar panels are an added bonus to a home that meets the home buyer’s other criteria, but are not the determining factor in choosing a home, he said.

How about you, would you pay more for a home with solar panels?

Source: Earth News By
Alexis Petru