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Home Solar Systems Make Dollars and Sense
Rooftop solar panels not only enhance a home’s green credentials and reduce utility bills, they also make it more marketable and boost its resale value.
Solar installations boost home values: A recent study sponsored by the Department of Energy, and conducted by California-based Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL), looked at sales data spanning eight states and nearly 23,000 homes from 2002 to 2013. The study found that home buyers were willing to pay as much as $15,000 more for a home with an average size photovoltaic system of 3.6 kilowatts or 3,600 watts, than for a similar home without solar panels. On the whole the study found that buyers were willing to pay more for additional solar-generating power, and the larger the system, the larger the premium they would be willing to pay.
And homes sell faster: In active solar markets like New Jersey and California, returns on solar energy investment were higher than in places where the marketplace has not yet caught up with solar power. But regardless of the strength of the market, solar-powered homes enjoyed higher demand and shorter selling cycles than comparable non-solar homes. Interestingly, the LBL study found that homes with solar panels typically sold approximately 20% faster than homes without solar systems.
Considering that the cost of solar system installations has dropped dramatically while solar storage capacity has increased and technology has improved, investment in residential solar energy seems to make both dollars and sense. Through 2016, homeowners and business owners can take advantage of the federal Investment Tax Credit for residential and commercial solar energy applications. Plus, many states offer incentives above and beyond the federal government’s tax credit.
One final encouraging development regarding home solar installations: In December, Fannie Mae issued a guideline specifying that if a house has an owned solar system, appraisers should leverage the solar system into the appraisal.