Day 70 / 365

For this week's theme on energy, I invited a company called MyDomino to do some guestposts for me on the economical and ecological benefits of green/clean energy in your home. MyDomino provides a service where they can personalise what programs are available and practical for you and your home and give you some financial projections on when you'll break even on any green energy investments you make. This isn't a sponsored post, I haven't received any money for posting their stories, I am instead happily taking a partial break this week to get after some freelance work outside this blog and share their expert insight with you. I've written the intros but the suggestions are theirs.

When we were building out our VW, we were trying to decide if putting solar panels on the roof would help us conserve energy. We consulted with (a.k.a wandered up and trespassed) Renewable Republic, a self sustaining urban homestead and eco business in San Antone, and they advised us against installing them for our roadtrip (the aerodynamic-ness of vanagons leaves one wanting without the extra weight). Conversely,  they highly recommend it for somewhat stationary vehicles, like their juice truck, Jusamungus, which runs completely off energy powered by solar panels on the truck's roof.

For your stationary home however, the story is a little different. In a 2014 study done by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, they found that buyers were willing to pay a premium of $15,000 for a home with an average-sized solar photovoltaic system, which translates to about $4 per watt of solar power generated by a home system. Sounds pretty intriguing, but in actuality, the story is a bit more complicated. So, I asked MyDomino to straighten me (and we) out on the subject by simplifying the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study .

- Words Below By MyDomino -

It’s difficult to determine a home’s value.

First of all, it’s important to point out that solar home values can be a bit tricky to determine. Why is that?

Many homebuyers, realtors, and appraisers are still not that familiar with solar systems. So they don’t know how to value solar homes.

Although there are now over 725,000 solar homes in America, that still adds up to less than 1% of all American households. In some areas, 10% – 20% of utility customers have gone solar, but those are still small pockets. Because many of those installations happened recently, many have not yet changed hands. So it’s challenging to find enough solar home sales to study.

Appraisers are used comparing similar homes to determine values. But comparable pairs of solar and non-solar homes can be hard to find. So appraisers need to get more comfortable using other methods to value solar homes.

Many homes currently have leased solar systems. The study focused on systems that are owned, which likely increase a home’s value more than leased systems.

A home solar system is likely to add value to your home.

That said, the study did confirm the previous results: If you own your solar system, it will probably increase your home’s value.

Researchers looked at homes from six states: California, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. Seven appraisers reviewed solar home values using a variety of methods. They compared similar homes with and without solar, when they could find them. But they also considered the savings from solar, as well as the market value of the solar systems. Plus, they did a statistical analysis of last year’s study to be sure that those results were solid.

Their conclusions:
  • There is a premium for solar homes.
  • How much a solar system increases your home’s value depends on a few things:
  • The age and size of your system. Buyers prefer newer and bigger systems.
  • Your system’s current market value. Solar costs have come down in recent years, and that could affect your system’s value.
  • Electricity prices in your area. The higher they are, the more value people will see in your solar system.
  • In some places, homes with solar sell more quickly. In others, they may actually sell more slowly. This likely has to do with how familiar people are with solar in each area.
  • Don’t wait for the next study to go solar!
We still need more studies of solar home values — especially of homes with leased solar systems. As people become more familiar with those, and more houses with leased solar are sold, leased systems may also increase your home’s value.

As important as this is to know, most people don’t go solar just to increase the value of their home. While that’s a nice benefit, the real value in solar is that you can start saving money now, while also using clean energy.

If you’d like to learn more about going solar and to see if it’s right for you, contact a MyDomino energy savings concierge. Your concierge will let you know if solar will work on your roof, get you quotes and help you compare them, and guide you through the whole process of going solar.
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