Solar Panels Can Boost Home’s Resale Value, Study Finds

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

solar panelsHome owners may write off solar panels as too costly (installation can cost upwards of $15,000), but a new study suggests that installing solar panels can pay off.

Researchers find that solar panels not only save money on electricity bills, but also provide a boost to home owners at resale, particularly when added to existing-homes, according to a new study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Home owners not only are likely to recoup their investment from the installation but even stand to make more at resale, the study finds.

Researchers analyzed the sales of about 2,000 solar homes in California from 2000 through mid-2009 and compared the prices to those of 70,000 comparable homes that did not have solar panels.

On average, solar panels added about $5.50 per watt to a home’s resale value. In other words, a home with a typical 3.1-kilowatt solar system stands to make an extra $17,000 above the cost of a comparable, nonsolar home.

So today’s Earth Day, should we go celebrate by adding some solar panels?

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. kria lacher

    This is great information and all Realtors/ appraiser should take heed

  2. Check out the cost of adding PV to your home. Prices are dropping. There are many more types of solar cells that adapt to different locations and needs. Go solar!

  3. Wonderful site. Plenty of helpful info here. I am sending it to some friends ans also sharing in delicious. And of course, thanks for your effort!

  4. Nick

    We have had a presentation from a company that will, based on the home’s exposure and other factors, install and maintain solar panels. The homeowner avoids paying the up-front costs and is guaranteed a fixed monthly charge which increases yearly at a 2.9% rate. The homeowner still would need to pay some minor fees to the providor of electricity. Annual costs savings appear to be in the $700 range. Would appreaciate any thoughts onn this approach and what impact it may have on the resale of a home (“lease” is transferrable).

  5. One of the genius green smarts people are eyeing to buy!

  6. Pricey but worth it! Many will go solar in the coming years.