A new report out from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL) “Selling Into the Sun” shows that solar arrays add value to homes. The new report takes on a serious question for homeowners interested in solar power—is solar power worth it? The answer: Yes. Ultimately the report found that an average 3.6 kilowatt solar array adds about $15,000 or $4 dollars per watt in value.
The report studied 22,822 homes, 3,951 of them—about 17 percent—of them with solar installations that were owned by the homeowners—not leased. While its still far, far short of the 115.6 million households in the U.S. and the more than 500,000 solar homes in the U.S., LBL, which undertook previous similar studies, said it is the largest such study ever conducted. The study was based on the sale of homes between 1999 and 2013 in eight states.
“Previous studies on PV home premiums have been limited in size and scope,” said Ben Hoen, lead author of the report. “We more than doubled the number of PV home sales analyzed, examined a number of states outside of California, and captured the market during the recent housing boom, bust, and recovery.”
One of the issues that has plagued pricing for PV homes is the lack of homes with PV systems in most regions. Studies have shown that solar adds value to homes in Colorado and California but they have been limited. “In most local markets, few PV home sales occur, thus appraisers and other real estate professionals (real estate agents, lenders, underwriters, etc.) often cannot compare similar PV and non-PV home sales to derive a PV premium,” LBL’s report stated.
“As PV systems become more and more common on U.S. homes, it will be increasingly important to value them accurately, using a variety of methods,” says co-author Sandra Adomatis, an appraiser who helped develop the Appraisal Institute’s Green Addendum and who has written and spoken extensively on valuing green features. She noted, “Our findings should provide greater confidence that PV adds a quantifiable premium to a wide variety of homes in California and beyond.”Tweet