(This post was written by MD SUN Communications Fellow Garance Perret)
The financial benefits of solar aren’t limited to lower electric bills. Solar can significantly increase the value of your home. Numerous studies have found that solar can add a premium to your home’s resale price. Solar has become the new granite countertops. As solar has become more popular, a number of organizations have tried to assess the value these systems provide.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) was one of the first organizations to attempt answering the question in 2006. NREL’s research examined a number of factors that impact solar’s value. These include the initial value of your home, its location, and the size of the solar installation. NREL found that a home with solar sells 20% faster than a home without solar, and for a price about 17% higher. For each $1 solar saved on your energy bill, approximately $20 was added to your home value.
In 2011, the National Bureau of Economic Research posted an analysis of the price premium on solar homes. The study found that a $22,500 solar panel system would increase your home’s value by 3.6% .
Most recently, the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory studied the impact of solar on homes in California. This study examined data from 1999-2013 and found that solar increased the value of a home by nearly $6,000 per each kilowatt of solar installed.
Closer to home, the Institute for Market Transformation’s “What is Green Worth?” study examined the impact of making your home more energy efficient and/or adding solar. It looked at home sales in Washington, D.C. The study found that a house with solar was sold for a price between $17,000 and $36,500 higher than a house without.
These studies show how solar can be a smart investment beyond just energy prices. As more and more homeowners add solar we’ll have further proof that energy independence as a boost to home value.