As the price of residential solar power becomes more affordable, more homeowners are making the decision to install rooftop solar PV panels. Some of the benefits are pretty clear — opting into solar power lessens a household’s carbon footprint and lowers electricity costs. But research has also shown that having solar panels installed can increase a home’s value in the housing market.
The Appraiser’s Dilemma
The fact that solar technology could make a home more valuable seems pretty obvious. Just like a homeowner may get a higher price for their home if they install state-of-the-art kitchen appliances, it seems natural that solar arrays directly owned by the homeowner would increase the value of their property.
However, home appraisers initially struggled with how to incorporate solar panels into the value of a residential property. The Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) stepped in to do research on the issue and help define the value of solar power.
According to the lab’s most recent report released in late 2015, not only do homes with solar PV installations go for higher prices, they also found no difference in the amount of time it took for a PV home to sell in comparison to a non-solar home.
This isn’t surprising when you consider the growing demand for residential solar power. According to a 2014 National Association of Realtors survey, 12 percent of prospective home buyers considered solar power “important” or “very important.” This number is well above the current supply of homes with solar installations, according to the LBNL.
What Does This Mean for Residential Solar?
Of course, going green is still the main driver for homeowners looking into solar installations; Simply installing solar panels before putting a house on the market will not yield a high return. However, the fact that residential solar arrays are becoming increasingly valuable in the eyes of prospective buyers is an encouraging trend to see in the industry.