Generally speaking, putting solar on your home is a good investment. But what if you’re planning to sell? Are homebuyers willing to up the ante for a home with solar panels? According to some recent studies, the answer is an overwhelming yes.
The first study, by the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, looked at home resale statistics in California over a decade, including the real estate meltdown/bubble that popped in 2008 and several years after. The analysis found that homebuyers were willing to pay an extra $5.50 per installed watt of solar power, amounting to an average of $17,000 of a price premium over comparable homes without PV. Given that the average installation cost during the same time frame was $5 per watt, that represents a profitable return on upfront investment when homes were sold. In addition, of course, the original homeowner enjoyed the benefits of free electricity coming directly from their roof.
Yahoo! Real Estate surveyed 1500+ adults across the U.S., and found that, for the first time, having a green, energy efficient home is now a factor for 50% of respondents when asked about things they’d like to have in their “dream house”. It was the top factor, outpacing “water views” (38%), “custom build” (38%), “cottage in the woods” (20%) and “gated community” (17%). In the study, Yahoo! cites a National Association of Homebuilders study that showed that people were willing to pay a 2–4% price premium for green features such as Energy Star appliances.
The benefits of home solar are strong, despite myths pushed forth by anti-clean energy naysayers. Several municipalities have simply required that all homes have solar, with one town, Sebastopol (CA), requiring it for commercial buildings as well. And why not? Otherwise, money leaves those communities and goes to support coal mining operations three states over in Wyoming. So those communities are pushing solar as a means of economic development and keeping money in their own communities.
Solar home photos from Shutterstock