My wife and I are all about living green(er). We got a Chevy Volt this past summer and absolutely love it. It will save us thousands of dollars in gas every year (and the carpool lane sticker comes in very handy in Orange County freeway traffic). The only negative with the Volt is the cost of electricity to charge it. Our electricity bill has increased about $100/month. Of course, we save way more in gas than that, so it’s not a big deal for us, but we still wondered how we could reduce the cost and live even greener. That goes us talking about solar panels.
If you walk around the neighborhoods in Dana Point and Capistrano Beach, you’ll see that solar panels are no longer limited to just a few ahead-of-their-time (or “kooky,” as my grandma would say) home owners. They’re becoming more and more mainstream. Installing solar panels isn’t cheap though so, as a realtor, the big question for me is this: Will you get your money back on solar panels when you sell your home?
Well, according to a new report funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, you just might. According to that report, homebuyers have consistently been willing to pay more for a property with owned solar photovoltaic (PV) systems.
The study analyzed data across 8 states, including California. The conclusion? Both new and existing home markets seem to value the addition of a PV system, with premiums averaging $3.58/watt for new homes and $4.51/watt for existing homes. California premiums, however, average $1.10/watt more than other states.
Interestingly, the study also found evidence of a “green cachet,” or situation in which buyers may be willing to pay a certain amount for having any size PV system.
So, from my perspective, solar is making more and more sense (and cents). Aside from renewable energy benefits, those who own their home’s PV system will receive about $1.26/watt in tax credits. And, when you sell your house, this report suggests you can up your price.
What’s the future look like? The Department of Energy estimates a total of 108 gigawatts of residential rooftop solar paneling by 2050, with 30 million homes nationwide. As of last year, more than half a million homes in the U.S. are outfitted with PV systems. That means lots of growth in the next several years–and lots of opportunity.