• Adam H. Cooke

Is your Home Worth more with Solar? |

Updated: 18 hours ago

Everywhere you look, solar panels are becoming more common--on local businesses, schools, and even your neighbor's home. This is a clear sign that the solar revolution has taken root. The United States added 905 megawatts of solar energy in the first three months this year. This is an 11 percent increase over last year and enough to power almost 172,000 homes. You might still be pondering whether you should add a home solar system to your home. There is evidence to show that harnessing the sun's energy is not only beneficial for the environment, but also a great long-term investment in your home.

The Solar Home Premium

Zillow's research shows that solar panels can increase the value of your house, sometimes significantly. Zillow conducted a comparison study and found that homes equipped with solar energy systems sold at 4.1 percent higher prices than homes without them in 2019. The magic panels added $9,274 to the country's median home value of $226,300. Zillow analyzed all sales of homes over a year and determined which listings had solar. They also took into account the home's age, size, location, market value, and the time of year it sold.

As with most things in real-estate, the amount of solar energy you get will depend on where you live. Zillow discovered that New Jersey, Pennsylvania and North Carolina have the highest solar premiums. Solar-clad homes in New Jersey sell for 9.9 percent less than homes without solar, an average of $32,281. (See the top 10 states with highest solar premiums).

Zillow discovered that New Jersey, Pennsylvania and North Carolina have the highest solar premiums.

The most popular markets include New York City, Florida, where the solar premium is 5.4%; Orlando, Florida, where the premium is 4.5% statewide; and San Francisco, which has a 4.4 percent premium or an increase of $41,658 on the median home price of $955,000. Zillow points out that no U.S. metro area saw its home values fall due to solar panels, although some states (like Utah) didn't have sufficient data to cover the study.

Why is it that houses equipped with solar energy systems sell for more than those without?

Clean Energy is a tempting Proposition

The key reason why home values have risen is because more buyers recognize the many benefits of renewable energy, especially the energy cost savings. Installing solar can help you reduce your monthly electric bill, or even eliminate it altogether. Sunrun, one the largest U.S. residential-solar companies, claims that customers who lease solar panels can save anywhere from 10-40 percent on their utility bills. The fixed price of the solar contract is typically lower than utilities rates. Going solar provides more predictability in your bills and allows you to lock in your monthly rate. This protects you against any future price increases due to volatile energy markets.

The savings are even greater if you own the panels. According to studies, the average American solar buyer sees a return of investment of 20% or more. Most solar panels can also be paid for many times over their lifetime (often tens of decades). The upfront cost of panels is not as high if you are eligible for tax credits and rebates on solar panels. EnergySage estimates that the average home solar system will cost $18,300 without tax credits, and $12,810 with tax credits.

...most solar panels systems are able to pay for themselves many times over their (often long-term) life span.