Home Solar Power Systems Boost House Value

A study of the real estate market in California has found homes with rooftop solar arrays achieved better sale prices than non-solar houses.

The study from Berkeley National Laboratory’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division analysed a large number of sales of homes in California from 2000 through mid-2009

The analysis found homes with solar power systems sold for a premium over comparable homes without PV systems. These average sales price premiums were comparable to the initial outlay invested by the home owner, who also benefited from the electricity produced by the rooftop solar panels prior to sale.

An interesting pattern to emerge was solar power systems provided a bigger boost to home values on existing homes rather than new houses.

The authors state possible reasons for this difference include underlying net installation costs for PV systems and/or builders willing to accept a lower PV related premium in favour of increased sales velocity, meaning decreased carrying costs of having properties not sold. The authors also suggest builders may have less familiarity and/or interest in marketing PV systems separately from the other features of new homes.

The research was based on a dataset of approximately 72,000 California homes, of which around 2,000 had solar electricity systems installed at the time of sale. California is the USA’s largest market for solar panel systems, with nearly 1000 MW of cumulative capacity. The state is also on the cusp of hosting 100,000 individual PV systems installations, more than 90% of which are residential.

The report was prepared for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Solar Energy Technologies Program, U.S. Department of Energy. The full report can be viewed here (PDF).