Here’s another reason to invest in solar panels, because it seems like people need more: They increase the value of your home.
An analysis of more than 22,000 home sales between 1999 and 2013 finds that buyers consistently pay a premium for homes with solar panels. On average, that premium works out to be $4 per watt of PV, or about $15,000 for a typical 3.6 kilowatt system.
The report comes from the Berkeley Lab, Sandia National Laboratories, and several universities and appraisers. It’s not the first study on the subject (see here) but it is the biggest. The sample size is double that of previous research.
The researchers looked at 22,822 home sales, including 3,951 with solar. Most of those (22,035) were in California, which pays the highest premiums. On average, homes in the Golden State paid $1.10 more per watt than those in other places.
The premiums were larger for larger homes but the study also found “a fixed component of PV home premiums that occurs regardless of system size.” In other words, there’s a certain “green cachet” where buyers will pay something for any size of system.
There was little difference between new and existing homes, though the premiums fall off as PV systems themselves get older. The newest panels paid 60% more than the oldest group of panels, according to the research.
The study adds another incentive for installing solar, though it’s unfortunate that it covers mostly Californian homes. We still don’t know what the premiums might be in less favorable states with less government support and worse weather.