In yesterday’s post about living off the grid, Morgana Wyze and Matt Stoll share that they've garnered top dollar for two homes they've sold because they had equipped the houses with solar panels. That anecdotal evidence is compelling, especially because it’s backed up by a recent report from Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, which found that California homes with a 3.1-kilowatt photovoltaic array sell for $17,000 more than homes without solar capability.
“This is a sizable effect,” Ryan Wiser, a staff scientist at the Lab and a coauthor of the report, said in a statement. “This research might influence the decisions of homeowners considering installing a PV system and of home-buyers considering buying a home with PV already installed.”
Berkeley Lab analyzed approximately 72,000 California homes, almost 2,000 of which had PV systems installed at the time of sale. The research finds strong evidence that homes with PV systems sold for a premium over comparable homes without PV systems.
Todd Woody analyzes the report this way on Grist: “Buy a house in a new subdivision where solar comes standard and your home values could rise between around $7,000 and $8,000. Purchase an older home with a solar array, and the value rises by $18,000 or more. (That’s assuming a 3.1-kilowatt array has been installed.)” Differences in installation costs and homebuilders’ willingness to discount the price of solar systems to increase sales explain the disparity, Woody writes.
“New homebuilders may gain value from PV as a market differentiator, and have therefore often tended to sell PV as a standard (as opposed to an optional) product on their homes and perhaps been willing to accept a lower premium in return for faster sales velocity and decreased carrying costs,” the report states. Additional questions warrant further research, such as investigating more-recent home sales from a broader geographic area and further investigating the difference in premium between new and existing PV homes, the report states.
Solar panels increase a home's resale value, a Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory report found. Photo by Michael Shopenn