You see them every time you’re at Home Depot or Costco, that guy in the green shirt trying to sell you on upgrading to solar power. Besides helping the environment, is the investment really worth it?
A new report from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBL) says it is. The report builds on previous research that has concluded that homes with solar panels in California sold for more than those without. So, how much are we talking? Here’s an example: a 5 kilowatt (kW) solar system (the national average) will offer 5,000 watts of power. LBL says that each watt of solar adds about $4 to a home’s value in California. So, a home with solar should sell for about ($4 x 5,000W =) $20,000 more than one without. The larger the system, the higher the value.
Also, installing solar panels not only helps you get a higher asking price, a National Renewable Energy Laboratory study found that it can also help your home sell 20% faster than properties without solar installations. For sellers who want to reduce exposure, paperwork, and wait times, this can be a huge advantage.
But what’s it going to cost you?
In California, some of the more expensive systems cost just over $4 watt. However, at least until 2021, there is a generous 30% Federal tax incentive available for switching to solar. Not to mention the several rebates and incentives through the power company and the state of California for making the switch. LA DWP, for example, offers a rebate of $0.25/W of installed solar power. On a 6,000W system, that’s $1,500. So, even if you sell your house soon after you have a solar system installed, you can expect to recoup most of your investment, still enjoy tax incentives, rebates, and save money on your power bills in the meantime.