Homeowners considering solar will at some point wonder, “What happens if I want to sell my home?”
The answer to this question depends largely on how you ended up going solar. When you own your solar system, it can transfer to the next owner easily — after all, it’s an asset that belongs to you. If you’ve leased your system, you might encounter a few hiccups, as it still belongs to the solar company, and they’ve put a lien on the system. (ease of transferability is one of the key differences between solar ownership and leasing.)
Homeowners who own their solar system are in luck — repeated studies have found that solar ownership has a positive impact on your property value. Just like a renovated kitchen or a finished basement improves the value of the property, so does the clean energy system producing free electricity for decades. In fact, solar’s positive impact on home value is well-enough established that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac instruct appraisers to include its value in real estate appraisals for mortgages. So not only do consumers perceive value in dramatically reduced electric costs, but the appraisal rules for government-backed mortgages (which most are) allow it to be factored in the same way other home improvements are.
In fact, solar ownership does more for your home relative to the cost than most home improvements. While a prospective buyer might prefer a yard to your in-ground pool, everyone who buys the home will use electricity — and it’s easy to calculate the value of electricity, which is given a set rate by the utility. Saving $200 a month by not paying an electric bill is an immediate benefit any homeowner would appreciate.
So roughly how much does a solar system improve your property value? Two recent studies give us a pretty good idea.