Why Solar Panels Can Add Thousands to Your Home’s Value – CNET

There are many benefits of solar panels that homeowners know about — they lower your energy bill, reduce your carbon footprint and can even earn you a healthy tax credit.

But did you know going solar also increases the value of your home?  

A 2019 report from Zillow indicated that properties with rooftop solar installations sold for 4.1% more than comparable residences without them. For a median-valued home, that’s equal to roughly $9,300.

And residences with solar are 24.7% more likely to sell for more than their asking price, according to property listings site Rocket Homes.

Tony Accardo, a Compass realtor in Los Angeles County, says solar is a “huge selling point” in his conversations with prospective buyers.

“If there were two identical homes, but one didn’t have solar and was $50,000 cheaper, the one with solar would sell first,” Accardo told CNET. 

Here’s what you need to know about how and why solar panels can increase your home’s value.

Watch this: How See-Through Solar Panels Could Bring Renewable Energy to Your Windows


Electricity prices will remain high

Though inflation rates were elevated at the beginning of the year, the Fed projects that it will still hit 2% by the end of the year. Even still, Mark Wolfe, director of the National Energy Assistance Directors Association, told USA Today that electricity prices may increase by as much as 10% in 2024.

That’s because liquified natural gas, which fuels over a third of Americans’ electricity, has become scarcer as the US exports a record amount to Europe, which has been struggling to replace the supply it no longer gets from Russia after its 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

“Unprecedented export volumes are, for the first time in history, binding American household energy bills to global calamities,” Wolfe wrote in an open letter last fall to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm.

He described the situation as “a domestic energy pricing crisis.”

Read more: Here’s How Solar Panels Can Save Homeowners Money

Asked about the reasons for adding solar panels, almost all (92%) homeowners who have installed them or considered doing so pointed to saving on utility bills, the Pew Research Center reported.   

“People aren’t altruistic,” Accardo said. “They’re interested in solar because of saving, not because of the environment.”

Will solar always add value to my property?

Having a well-maintained rooftop solar system is highly unlikely to ever lower your property’s value, Accardo said. Even if you don’t have solar panels, buyers may pay more for a house with roofing that’s well-suited to installing them later.

But changes in state regulations can make solar less of a selling point: California recently altered its solar incentive from a net-metering system, where homeowners get a near-dollar-to-dollar credit for excess energy, to a net-billing program where your surplus is sold to the utility at a substantially lower rate.

Systems installed after April 14, 2023, could earn homeowners 75% less if they don’t also have a home battery setup, according to the California Solar and Storage Association, the state’s largest solar trade organization. (Existing systems are grandfathered under the current net-metering structure.) 

Similar policy changes decreased the uptake of solar in Hawaii, Nevada and Missouri, the nonprofit Environment America reported.

In Arizona, new fees and regulations nearly doubled how long it takes solar panels to pay for themselves, leading to a decline in adoption of between 50% and 95%, EA reported. (Despite it being the sunniest state in the union, fewer than 200,000 homes in Arizona are powered by ­solar.)

The state of your panels and your home are also a factor. If a buyer sees that they’re going to have to invest in repairs, it will likely drive the price down.

And as other states adopt net billing, having solar panels paired with a home battery backup system will be increasingly important to get the most value for your home.

For more on solar panels, find out how to avoid scams and learn about the big changes to California’s solar incentives.

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