does solar increase the value of a house

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sabhen
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does solar increase the value of a house

Post by sabhen » Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:36 am

I purchased a house that had solar panels installed by previous owner. Panels were all paid off. It was one of the many reason I bought this house. Solar panels are south facing and somewhat discrete on the roof. Requiring no maintenance. I am pleased how minimal my overall electricity bill is. I was wondering if solar improves the value of a house. Recently I refinanced my mortgage. The real estate appraiser barely noticed the solar panels on the roof. He seemed unsure about my question. Does solar increase the appeal and value of a house. Thanks.

joebh
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by joebh » Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:52 am

My reading says that results are mixed.

Clearly, solar was at least somewhat important to you, and perhaps increased the amount you were willing to pay for this house. Others don't perceive the same value, if they value solar at all.

And of course, the value of solar (and any other home improvement) is very contextual. In sunny California, value may be perceived different than it would be in Seattle or New England. And if you are in a "green" neighborhood, then solar might have more value as well.

Sconie
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by Sconie » Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:59 am

Just FWIW, this came-up as a question at a recent HOA Board meeting where we live here in southern Arizona. The "feeling" from the discussion which resulted was that solar panels neither increase or decrease the value of a home----unless, of course, there are so many of the panels present on a home that they actually begin to viewed by potential purchasers, neighbors and the like as an "eye sore."

Our local electrical utility has managed to get rate regulations enacted which severely impacts the economic benefits previously associated with solar panels---I don't know if that has occurred elsewhere, but it has certainly happened here.
I know that you think you understand what you thought I said, but I don't think you realize that what I said is necessarily what I meant......

Gill
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by Gill » Sun Mar 27, 2016 8:59 am

I live near a house with extensive solar panels on the side and rear, visible from the street and golf course. IMO they greatly detract from the house.
Gill

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by hicabob » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:23 am

Sconie wrote:Just FWIW, this came-up as a question at a recent HOA Board meeting where we live here in southern Arizona. The "feeling" from the discussion which resulted was that solar panels neither increase or decrease the value of a home----unless, of course, there are so many of the panels present on a home that they actually begin to viewed by potential purchasers, neighbors and the like as an "eye sore."

Our local electrical utility has managed to get rate regulations enacted which severely impacts the economic benefits previously associated with solar panels---I don't know if that has occurred elsewhere, but it has certainly happened here.



I believe that happened in Nevada too. The power companies now pay the wholesale rate instead of the retail rate for customer generated electricity. Apparently all the solar companies did a mass exodus in response. I can see the power companies point but I would be miffed if I had solar panels installed under the previous assumptions.

protagonist
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by protagonist » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:42 am

I would guess it would also depend on the type of community where you live.

My area is pretty earthy-crunchy and a lot of people are interested in sustainable energy. My guess is that it would make a home seem more desirable to many buyers here, but that is just a guess.

danaht
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by danaht » Sun Mar 27, 2016 9:56 am

Depends on the location. Southern California is where electricity prices are sky high - and so it should increase the value in CA. However, if you bought a house in TX with solar panels - it would probably decrease the value some. Electricity costs in TX are super cheap currently and TX faces periodic hail storms that would cause major damage to most solar panels. In TX - you would probably be better off with a wind mill (but you can only do this if you live in the country where home owner associations do not have these limitations).

dbr
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by dbr » Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:05 am

Speaking of Texas hail, what is the insurability/insurance cost of solar panels?

Also, eventually those panels will deteriorate and need to be replaced or removed. Maintenance cost might be considered.

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mrc
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by mrc » Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:19 am

Probably not as much as you would think. They help reduce the utility cost. But they will wear out and are in the way for roof replacement. They can help the house sell (as you know since that's the house you picked). Lots of variables with location and what's around you. But appraisers tend to focus on the hard values: number of rooms, square footage, tangible upgrades, garage bay counts, or lack thereof. It was interesting reading our comps, where the appraiser raised or dinged our house's values. Some were hard to figure.
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TravelGeek
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by TravelGeek » Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:29 am

I don't see how they could decrease the value in a meaningful way. You could always remove them (for what I assume is minimal labor cost).

Our new house was built with solar panels (net zero home). They increase my personal valuation of the home. I hoped his is our last home, so I don't particularly care about valuation at this point. The monthly $10 electric bill (fee for being hooked up to the grid) is priceless.

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:37 am

sabhen wrote:I purchased a house that had solar panels installed by previous owner. Panels were all paid off. It was one of the many reason I bought this house. Solar panels are south facing and somewhat discrete on the roof. Requiring no maintenance. I am pleased how minimal my overall electricity bill is. I was wondering if solar improves the value of a house. Recently I refinanced my mortgage. The real estate appraiser barely noticed the solar panels on the roof. He seemed unsure about my question. Does solar increase the appeal and value of a house. Thanks.


I suspect it really depends on where you live.

If lots of people have them, the appearance will not be "unusual" and so not detract from marketability of home.

And if you live in some place like California, where electricity rates are high, then that benefit will be something people will understand.

user5027
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by user5027 » Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:11 am

Are there issues for firefighters?

I recall hearing firefighting at an industrial building was hampered by rooftop solar panels.

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Sbashore
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by Sbashore » Sun Mar 27, 2016 12:32 pm

I just sold a house with solar in the Phoenix, AZ area. My Realtor did some research and provided documentation that indicated that an owned solar system in this market added on average 5-10% to the home's value over one without solar. A home with a leased solar system reduced it's value by about 6%.
Steve | Semper Fi

quantAndHold
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by quantAndHold » Sun Mar 27, 2016 1:16 pm

Gill wrote:I live near a house with extensive solar panels on the side and rear, visible from the street and golf course. IMO they greatly detract from the house.
Gill


Does the person who actually owns the house with he panels believe that?

Our California house has panels that generate an average of $100/month in electricity. I have a hard time believing they are worth $0 to a prospective buyer.

OTOH, I have a hard time believing that they're worth 5-10% of the home's value. My best calculation is that if they were worth an extra $75-100/month to someone, amortized into a 30 year mortgage, they'd be worth (drum roll...) about what we originally paid for them.

We got them because we wanted to reduce our impact on the earth, not because of resale value, so we don't care much about resale.

About insurance...the panels came with a 25 year warranty, that pays for some number of broken panels. The panels are not all that fragile. Even fairly large hail shouldn't damage them. Other falling stuff is unlikely, because you place them where they get full sun, so there isn't a lot that can fall on them. I know that our homeowners insurance rates didn't really change when we got them.

168gr
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by 168gr » Sun Mar 27, 2016 1:57 pm

dbr wrote:Speaking of Texas hail, what is the insurability/insurance cost of solar panels?

Also, eventually those panels will deteriorate and need to be replaced or removed. Maintenance cost might be considered.


Modern solar panels are surprisingly durable. They look like fragile glass but they're not. An adult can stand on them and jump up and down. Most are rated for 1" hail at 50+ mph.

Panels from reputable manufacturers are generally warrantied for 80-90% of rated power production 25 years later. The primary maintenance cost to consider is that the inverters don't have the same life span as the panels, only 5-10 years.

The panels on our central southern California house were installed in 2010. State/federal subsidies paid for about 1/3 of the actual cost of a professionally installed system. Energy savings will have paid for them around year 10, and they'll be producing power for decades to come.


As an investment? Hard to assess. Simplest analysis:

On one hand, $X spent on panels on day zero, with the energy savings invested each year ...
On the other, $X invested on day zero ...

The math I did at the time suggested break-even on the panel cost around year 9-10, and beating the lump-sum-investment-instead-of-panels around year 11. Plenty of assumptions there but they were an almost no-brainer for sunny central southern California.


Caveat - we deliberately purchased an undersized system for our house, so that it would produce power to offset the utility's top tier pricing, which is around $.31 / kWh. A system sized large enough to cover all of our energy use would have been MUCH less economical, since it'd be offsetting power purchases in the $.15 - $.25 / kWh tiers.

The salespeople tried to talk us into a system 2-3x as big to "go completely green" but the only green I really cared about was the spending kind.

YMMV.


I have no idea whether it affects home value or not. The tax assessor didn't seem to care. We haven't sold the place.

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black jack
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by black jack » Sun Mar 27, 2016 2:21 pm

Caveat: I don't have solar panels, but am considering them.

Aesthetics: de gustibus non est disputandem; I for one do not find their appearance displeasing. Several houses in our neighborhood have them. Many of the houses in the neighborhood, and most of the houses I've noticed with solar panels, are two-story houses, so the roofs are not in the general sightline. I notice them mostly because I'm thinking about them and looking for them.
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user5027
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by user5027 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 8:52 am

user5027 wrote:Are there issues for firefighters?

I recall hearing firefighting at an industrial building was hampered by rooftop solar panels.
Another reported issue...
Fire official: Solar panels impede firefighters in putting out Middletown house fire

.... But Bampfield said the solar panels prevented the roof from being opened up to vent the fire and fumes, making the fire within the building hotter. Firefighters can shut off electric power to a home, but solar panels remain "energized" so firefighters cannot get on a roof.

"They're a big drawback for firefighters," he said. "We need to perform ventilation to allow the super heated gases out. The solar panels hamper that operation." ....
Link

Big Dog
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by Big Dog » Tue Aug 01, 2017 9:13 am

You could always remove them (for what I assume is minimal labor cost).
Not likely. You;'d have to plug every hole, and that would not last without re-roofing.

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F150HD
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by F150HD » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:04 am

quantAndHold wrote:
We got them because we wanted to reduce our impact on the earth, not because of resale value, so we don't care much about resale.
Fabricating the panels requires caustic chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid, and the process uses water as well as electricity, the production of which emits greenhouse gases. It also creates waste. These problems could undercut solar's ability to fight climate change and reduce environmental toxics.

...The silicon used to make the vast majority of today's photovoltaic cells is abundant, but a "silicon-based solar cell requires a lot of energy input in its manufacturing process," said Northwestern's You. The source of that energy, which is often coal, he added, determines how large the cell's carbon footprint is.


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... y-ranking/

since 2008, photovoltaics manufacturing has moved from Europe, Japan, and the United States to China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan; today nearly half the world’s photovoltaics are manufactured in China. As a result, although the overall track record for the industry is good, the countries that produce the most photovoltaics today typically do the worst job of protecting the environment and their workers.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/sol ... -you-think

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F150HD
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by F150HD » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:08 am

I loved this idea when I heard about it, though admittedly haven't done a ton of reading on it (cost, the actual carbon footprint of making the roof etc). The idea makes total sense though (to me at least) if it can be done properly with minimal environmental impact etc.

https://www.tesla.com/solarroof

teen persuasion
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by teen persuasion » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:16 am

user5027 wrote:
user5027 wrote:Are there issues for firefighters?

I recall hearing firefighting at an industrial building was hampered by rooftop solar panels.
Another reported issue...
Fire official: Solar panels impede firefighters in putting out Middletown house fire

.... But Bampfield said the solar panels prevented the roof from being opened up to vent the fire and fumes, making the fire within the building hotter. Firefighters can shut off electric power to a home, but solar panels remain "energized" so firefighters cannot get on a roof.

"They're a big drawback for firefighters," he said. "We need to perform ventilation to allow the super heated gases out. The solar panels hamper that operation." ....
Link
Interesting - our local volunteer fire company put a good sized solar array on their roof when they renovated and expanded the fire hall a few years ago.

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sunny_socal
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by sunny_socal » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:16 am

At least here in Southern CA, I think the answer is 'yes.' Property appraisers ask if any upgrades have been done to the house, I reply with Solar. The buyer can also think of it as $200/month they can apply toward a higher mortgage. Solar is very common here these days.

On the other hand, utilities are doing their best to water down or eliminate the benefits. You don't get paid for the power you generate at a 1:1 ratio, they have come up with clever ways to charge you a full rate for any power you consume yet reimburse at a much lower rate. You as a consumer have no choice, some committee decides these matters. (This is for a grid tied system, those off the grid of course get to 'keep' all their power.)

Swimming pools are a different matter. If they are in good condition and the buyer has little kids, I think a pool is a strong selling point. If the pool is falling apart it will cost tens of thousands to fix it not to mention the cost of running it. Solar has no such downside.

Valuethinker
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by Valuethinker » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:19 am

sunny_socal wrote:At least here in Southern CA, I think the answer is 'yes.' Property appraisers ask if any upgrades have been done to the house, I reply with Solar. The buyer can also think of it as $200/month they can apply toward a higher mortgage. Solar is very common here these days.

On the other hand, utilities are doing their best to water down or eliminate the benefits. You don't get paid for the power you generate at a 1:1 ratio, they have come up with clever ways to charge you a full rate for any power you consume yet reimburse at a much lower rate. You as a consumer have no choice, some committee decides these matters. (This is for a grid tied system, those off the grid of course get to 'keep' all their power.)

Swimming pools are a different matter. If they are in good condition and the buyer has little kids, I think a pool is a strong selling point. If the pool is falling apart it will cost tens of thousands to fix it not to mention the cost of running it. Solar has no such downside.
Note this thread is a restart from 2016.

open_circuit
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by open_circuit » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:20 am

sabhen wrote:Panels were all paid off. ... Requiring no maintenance.
I feel like you captured the entirety of the issue in your situation. When we purchased a house last year, one of the contenders was a house with a rooftop solar installation. As a potential buyer, I was concerned about becoming entangled in a contract or lease arrangement with a solar provider and about maintaining (cleaning) panels on a second story roof. In your situation, I would see the panels as a net positive. In general, though, the answer is not clearly 'yes' or 'no' for me.

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by pshonore » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:28 am

sunny_socal wrote:At least here in Southern CA, I think the answer is 'yes.' Property appraisers ask if any upgrades have been done to the house, I reply with Solar. The buyer can also think of it as $200/month they can apply toward a higher mortgage. Solar is very common here these days.

On the other hand, utilities are doing their best to water down or eliminate the benefits. You don't get paid for the power you generate at a 1:1 ratio, they have come up with clever ways to charge you a full rate for any power you consume yet reimburse at a much lower rate. You as a consumer have no choice, some committee decides these matters. (This is for a grid tied system, those off the grid of course get to 'keep' all their power.)
The problem comes if lots of people adapt Solar and especially small co-generation plants for Hospitals, government buildings, schools, large industrial users etc fueled by NG. The utility still has the same costs for maintaining the grid but significantly fewer customers to pay those costs. In CT, I pay 6.6 cents/Kw for the actual electricity and approx 14 cents/Kw for the distribution charge.

aristotelian
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by aristotelian » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:31 am

They pay for themselves so they don't need to increase the value of the house to be worth it. I suspect if you live in a coastal area with environmentally conscious people you could expect a slight premium. I would certainly be interested as a buyer.

Slacker
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by Slacker » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:48 am

hicabob wrote:
Sconie wrote:Just FWIW, this came-up as a question at a recent HOA Board meeting where we live here in southern Arizona. The "feeling" from the discussion which resulted was that solar panels neither increase or decrease the value of a home----unless, of course, there are so many of the panels present on a home that they actually begin to viewed by potential purchasers, neighbors and the like as an "eye sore."

Our local electrical utility has managed to get rate regulations enacted which severely impacts the economic benefits previously associated with solar panels---I don't know if that has occurred elsewhere, but it has certainly happened here.

I believe that happened in Nevada too. The power companies now pay the wholesale rate instead of the retail rate for customer generated electricity. Apparently all the solar companies did a mass exodus in response. I can see the power companies point but I would be miffed if I had solar panels installed under the previous assumptions.
Much of the solar situation in Arizona:
http://www.ed3online.org/files/ED3%20DG ... -21-15.pdf

Colorado was far more friendly to solar.

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by Slacker » Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:02 am

F150HD wrote:
quantAndHold wrote:
We got them because we wanted to reduce our impact on the earth, not because of resale value, so we don't care much about resale.
Fabricating the panels requires caustic chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid, and the process uses water as well as electricity, the production of which emits greenhouse gases. It also creates waste. These problems could undercut solar's ability to fight climate change and reduce environmental toxics.

...The silicon used to make the vast majority of today's photovoltaic cells is abundant, but a "silicon-based solar cell requires a lot of energy input in its manufacturing process," said Northwestern's You. The source of that energy, which is often coal, he added, determines how large the cell's carbon footprint is.


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... y-ranking/

since 2008, photovoltaics manufacturing has moved from Europe, Japan, and the United States to China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan; today nearly half the world’s photovoltaics are manufactured in China. As a result, although the overall track record for the industry is good, the countries that produce the most photovoltaics today typically do the worst job of protecting the environment and their workers.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/sol ... -you-think
You can buy solar panels manufactured in the US. You need not purchase products of questionable manufacturing from China.
The authors found that for every doubling in solar capacity installed, energy used to produce solar panels decreased by 12-13 percent, and greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 17-24 percent, depending on the material used...
Over an average lifespan of 30-odd years, a PV system pays back the energy that was used in producing it "multiple times," said the study authors.
Looking at data since 1976, the researchers calculated that on a global scale, solar energy's "debt was likely already repaid in 2011" for both energy input and greenhouse gases.
https://phys.org/news/2016-12-solar-pan ... -debt.html

Since you specifically cited a comment on coal power. Have you yet done an analysis on the full lifecycle of coal power (mining, shipping, burning, deleterious environmental effects, coal power plant construction, power line construction, maintenance of power plants and power lines) over a 30yr span to do a proper and equitable analysis vs solar power? It seems you are trying to make an argument (implied) that solar panels are inherently "dirtier" than coal. I believe you will be hard pressed to maintain such a ludicrous position.

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F150HD
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by F150HD » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:57 pm

Slacker wrote: It seems you are trying to make an argument (implied) that solar panels are inherently "dirtier" than coal. I believe you will be hard pressed to maintain such a ludicrous position.
Didn't say that at all. "you" assumed (and implied) that yourself.

Most folks probably hire a contractor to buy/install panels so aren't in direct control over where they are manufactured and purchased from.

Folks think solar is very 'green' but its not always as green as one thinks. All outlined in the articles cited which is evident you didn't read.

Hopefully it develops to the point where it's greener then what one reads about.

geospatial
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by geospatial » Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:37 pm

Something else to consider is the advent of solar shingles...

https://www.tesla.com/solarroof

If these garner mass interest and adoption, existing solar panels might be considered somewhat passe and outdated in a few years.

Valuethinker
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:40 am

pshonore wrote:
sunny_socal wrote:At least here in Southern CA, I think the answer is 'yes.' Property appraisers ask if any upgrades have been done to the house, I reply with Solar. The buyer can also think of it as $200/month they can apply toward a higher mortgage. Solar is very common here these days.

On the other hand, utilities are doing their best to water down or eliminate the benefits. You don't get paid for the power you generate at a 1:1 ratio, they have come up with clever ways to charge you a full rate for any power you consume yet reimburse at a much lower rate. You as a consumer have no choice, some committee decides these matters. (This is for a grid tied system, those off the grid of course get to 'keep' all their power.)
The problem comes if lots of people adapt Solar and especially small co-generation plants for Hospitals, government buildings, schools, large industrial users etc fueled by NG. The utility still has the same costs for maintaining the grid but significantly fewer customers to pay those costs. In CT, I pay 6.6 cents/Kw for the actual electricity and approx 14 cents/Kw for the distribution charge.
[/quote]

It's also a given that this will happen. "Behind the Meter" in the industry jargon-- distributed generation. Units of use is down in most major developed countries and falling.

The electric utility will become a reliability provider via the grid. The energy on the grid will increasingly be generated local to use.

(Cogeneration btw is usually natural gas fuelled. It's quite efficient (80%+ efficiencies) *if* you have a steady hot water load e.g. a hospital or industrial plant. But such can also make money providing reliability to the grid-- the sale of power to the grid at peak periods, when wholesale prices are high. You also get standalone providers using gas-fuelled reciprocal engines (ie not gas turbines) w c. 30% efficiency who are paid as standby power).

The thing is prices of doing this with solar PV are falling so fast that it has become a certainty. The "Utility of Tomorrow" in the industry jargon, is becoming the Utility of Now.

The industry incumbents will of course dig in their heels and fight back. Just as the phone companies fought long distance resellers & then the internet, etc. It won't save them.

Dieter Helm's Burnout: the end game for fossil fuels has a whole section about the industry incumbents in the energy industry (including utilities) and what happens to them. He is a respected energy economist at Oxford U, and it is thought-provoking and highly recommended.

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:44 am

geospatial wrote:Something else to consider is the advent of solar shingles...

https://www.tesla.com/solarroof

If these garner mass interest and adoption, existing solar panels might be considered somewhat passe and outdated in a few years.
This too, will happen. There are solar roof tiles now which are used on high architectural specifications like office buildings, heritage building roofs etc.

The benefits of solar panels are real, and won't disappear just because there is a newer and better technology. The value of anything in a finance sense is the discounted value of future cash flows to the owner, and those are not dependent on having the latest technology.

To be absolutely precise, if the annual fall in prices of a solar array (fully installed) exceeds your discount rate, it's better to wait. I switched to LED lightbulbs when they were as much as £20 each 5 years ago, and now they are £5 each-- I should have waited (even though I reduced my electricity bills quite a bit).

An additional uncertainty is that wholesale electricity prices are likely to go to zero during daytimes, and sometimes at night (low demand + the wind blowing). Thus, if you have price risk exposure in your solar PV contract, you might not make as much money from them as forecast.

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just frank
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by just frank » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:06 am

F150HD wrote:
Slacker wrote: It seems you are trying to make an argument (implied) that solar panels are inherently "dirtier" than coal. I believe you will be hard pressed to maintain such a ludicrous position.
Didn't say that at all. "you" assumed (and implied) that yourself.

Most folks probably hire a contractor to buy/install panels so aren't in direct control over where they are manufactured and purchased from.

Folks think solar is very 'green' but its not always as green as one thinks. All outlined in the articles cited which is evident you didn't read.

Hopefully it develops to the point where it's greener then what one reads about.
A lot of conflicting information out there. Much of the confusion is b/c PV is an evolving mixture of different technologies and manufacturing methods. Intuitively, the same advancements that lead to reduced cost of production, also lead to reduced emissions due to PV fabrication (minimizing material per Watt, minimizing energy needed per gram material, raising PV eff, etc).

While your statements and concerns may have been valid for PV more than 10-15 years ago (when only a tiny fraction of currently installed panels were made), peer-reviewed studies indicate the PV panels made in the last decade are very green indeed.

A recent, public access, peer-reviewed paper on the subject is here:

https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms13728

In it, numbers are provided, Figure 2c, that indicate that the gCO2/kWh produced is falling exponentially (in line with the cost), and currently in the few tens of grams per kWh. This is only a few-% of current US grid-average emissions, which IIRC are still around 1000 gCO2/kWh. So currently installing solar in a good US site, and running it for 30 years DOES lead to a net reduction of ~95% in the corresponding GHG emissions.

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by Slacker » Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:24 pm

F150HD wrote:
Slacker wrote: It seems you are trying to make an argument (implied) that solar panels are inherently "dirtier" than coal. I believe you will be hard pressed to maintain such a ludicrous position.
Didn't say that at all. "you" assumed (and implied) that yourself.
Implied by the specific quotes you carefully pruned from the articles you cited. The only concerns in those articles wrt coal power production was for panels produced in China.
Most folks probably hire a contractor to buy/install panels so aren't in direct control over where they are manufactured and purchased from.

Folks think solar is very 'green' but its not always as green as one thinks. All outlined in the articles cited which is evident you didn't read.

Hopefully it develops to the point where it's greener then what one reads about.
It is quite easy to contact several contractors operating in your area (unless you live in a very remote rural area) and ask questions. I did. Took very little time.

Perhaps you should try reading something more recent and not 3 years old as PV technology advances at the rate of most silicon based technologies where there have been at least 2 doublings in improvements since the time of the articles you quoted partially out of context.

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by unclescrooge » Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:29 am

sunny_socal wrote:At least here in Southern CA, I think the answer is 'yes.' Property appraisers ask if any upgrades have been done to the house, I reply with Solar. The buyer can also think of it as $200/month they can apply toward a higher mortgage. Solar is very common here these days.

On the other hand, utilities are doing their best to water down or eliminate the benefits. You don't get paid for the power you generate at a 1:1 ratio, they have come up with clever ways to charge you a full rate for any power you consume yet reimburse at a much lower rate. You as a consumer have no choice, some committee decides these matters. (This is for a grid tied system, those off the grid of course get to 'keep' all their power.)

Swimming pools are a different matter. If they are in good condition and the buyer has little kids, I think a pool is a strong selling point. If the pool is falling apart it will cost tens of thousands to fix it not to mention the cost of running it. Solar has no such downside.
Just sold a house in SoCal with paid off soar panels ( less than 1 year old). Did not add anything to the value of the house.

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:02 am

F150HD wrote:
quantAndHold wrote:
We got them because we wanted to reduce our impact on the earth, not because of resale value, so we don't care much about resale.
Fabricating the panels requires caustic chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid, and the process uses water as well as electricity, the production of which emits greenhouse gases. It also creates waste. These problems could undercut solar's ability to fight climate change and reduce environmental toxics.

...The silicon used to make the vast majority of today's photovoltaic cells is abundant, but a "silicon-based solar cell requires a lot of energy input in its manufacturing process," said Northwestern's You. The source of that energy, which is often coal, he added, determines how large the cell's carbon footprint is.


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... y-ranking/

since 2008, photovoltaics manufacturing has moved from Europe, Japan, and the United States to China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Taiwan; today nearly half the world’s photovoltaics are manufactured in China. As a result, although the overall track record for the industry is good, the countries that produce the most photovoltaics today typically do the worst job of protecting the environment and their workers.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/sol ... -you-think
Roughly speaking, a solar panel will generate 20x the energy cost of its manufacture (somewhere between 12x and 20x). Of course since there are solar panels out there 25+ years old, this is a bit academic, because the benefits keep going way out into the future. There's not a recycling problem, because old solar panels can be repurposed as panels on lower productivity sites.

The benefit of deferring say 1000 kwhr pa per peak kw (that's a conservative estimate, I get 85% of that in London, England, which is on a northerly latitude (51 degrees-- lower angle sunlight) and a relatively cloudy climate; in Socal you should get 1650-2000 kwhr pa) is so great, that the carbon emissions in manufacture are irrelevant.

It doesn't take 20,000 kwhr to produce a solar panel. It is probably something like 1,000 kwhr. And even if that is 100% coal fired electricity, and you are deferring 30% fossil fueled electricity (the US average is closer to 80%-- gas and coal) then the planet is still 6x time better off (20,000 kwhr over 20 years, x 30% = 6,000 kwhr equivalent to 1,000 kwhr manufacturing cost, 100% coal).

Yes the Chinese have pollution problems in electronics manufacture. Should we not buy new PCs or iphones because of this? The problems of solar panel manufacture are tiny compared to the ewaste problem generated by the world electronics industry, I suspect.

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by mouses » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:24 am

hicabob wrote:
Sconie wrote: Our local electrical utility has managed to get rate regulations enacted which severely impacts the economic benefits previously associated with solar panels---I don't know if that has occurred elsewhere, but it has certainly happened here.
I believe that happened in Nevada too. The power companies now pay the wholesale rate instead of the retail rate for customer generated electricity. Apparently all the solar companies did a mass exodus in response. I can see the power companies point but I would be miffed if I had solar panels installed under the previous assumptions.
That's apparently a nationwide effort by power companies and the Koch brothers (oil, etc.). So if the payment were a factor to me, I would look at the local political situation.

I don't view solar panels on a roof as an eyesore. A number of houses in my area have these, even though it's New England. If there were a lot scattered around in the yards in a suburban area, that might be different.

I would have had solar panels installed, except my house is going to be uninhabitable in 2-3 decades because of rising sea level/hurricane threats, so I am not making major investments in it.

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by bottlecap » Thu Aug 03, 2017 6:44 am

If I were buying they would be a negative because they are ugly and I would be concerned about maintenance.

Not saying that I would never buy a house with them, but I wouldn't pay more fore them and they might scare me aware if I didnt fully have the time to research what they might mean for my wallet down the road.

And in the middle of the home buying process would not be a good time to learn.

JT

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by czeckers » Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:17 am

Simple question but complicated answer.

As many have mentioned above, the monetary value varies from location to location depending on amount of sunshine and arrangements with the utility company.

The big downside is that they need to be removed and put back up if the roof needs work. However, they do offer some degree of protection to the roof under them. Also, if they are mounted on racks, then they shade the roof and reduce cooling load in the summer somewhat offsetting this issue.

The panels should last 30 years or so. By then, replacement panels will be considerably cheaper and more efficient. The inverter(s) ought to last 10-15 years so that will most likely be the first (and probably only) thing you'll have to replace.

In the end, I think solar panels are like swimming pools when it comes to home valuations. Some buyers see the benefits and it's a plus. Other buyers focus on the downsides and it is a negative for them.

-K
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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:58 am

czeckers wrote:S

In the end, I think solar panels are like swimming pools when it comes to home valuations. Some buyers see the benefits and it's a plus. Other buyers focus on the downsides and it is a negative for them.

-K
I would take issue with the equivalence between solar panels and swimming pools?

At least in the real estate markets I am aware of, pools are always a negative? At best, neutral. In other words the cost of installing a pool is not reflected in the value of the house-- zero change at best. Standard advice from real estate agents re an old pool is "rip it out if you can". Perhaps in climates like southern California where they can be used all year round, this is different?

A pool is a guaranteed cash outflow, and guaranteed hassle. Thus, it's only if the amenity value offsets that.

Over to solar panels

Solar panels are always a cash inflow. They have limited maintenance requirements (except replacement of inverters). They are always going to benefit the owner. This assumes ownership not leased.

Thus, solar panels might be at worst zero, and at best quite a bit more addition to valuation. I can't quite imagine this neighbourhood where solar panels are seen as aesthetically unattractive? At least, on non historic conservation area buildings here, in the UK, they have sprung up everywhere and I've never heard of them being an issue in a sale. On listed buildings (historic conservation designation) then you may need permission to put them up, which might be refused by the local planners on conservation grounds (same problem with satellite dishes, and it's by no means consistent between areas).

It should also be noted that removing solar panels is an extremely inexpensive exercise? So if they do become an obstacle to the sale of a home, they can be easily removed. An in ground concrete pool is a much more difficult project-- particularly if access to the back yard is difficult.

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by Nowizard » Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:00 am

As with many other things in a home, the more unusual the item, the more someone may be attracted but the more you lose a number of potential purchasers. Younger folks for example, or those into ecology may be quite interested but that demographic may or may not be the best for having funds for home purchase. For home sales, generic is probably best for sales along with location. As an older person, we would not purchase a home with solar panels, thinking of it as a growing phenomenon we support but one that was out of our comfort zone.

Tim

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by eye.surgeon » Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:58 am

Here in Fresno solar panels are ubiquitous in better neighborhoods since we're one of the sunniest spots in the country with the highest energy rates. Solar leases are a significant impairment to home sales and will become an increasing problem as all these homes that opted for leases come up for sale. Owner-owned solar systems are a small net + to home values here, how could they not be--my electricity bill would be $500/month higher without them.
"I would rather be certain of a good return than hopeful of a great one" | Warren Buffett

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:49 am

Nowizard wrote:As with many other things in a home, the more unusual the item, the more someone may be attracted but the more you lose a number of potential purchasers. Younger folks for example, or those into ecology may be quite interested but that demographic may or may not be the best for having funds for home purchase. For home sales, generic is probably best for sales along with location. As an older person, we would not purchase a home with solar panels, thinking of it as a growing phenomenon we support but one that was out of our comfort zone.

Tim
The assumption there is that money does not mean anything to an older person? They have so much they don't need to worry?

If you have 2 houses, with different utility bills, are you not going to choose the one with significantly lower utility bills, all other things being equal? How much does "appearance" matter in that context*? Most of us don't live in really affluent tony areas where utility bills are a rounding error?

I agree that leased arrays could be different. But utility bills here (UK) are a big issue. A house that has significantly lower utility bills is going to count for something. And this is in a country with a cloudy-rainy climate with relatively small roof sizes (people here write about 4 peak kw arrays, even 6-- I wish! I can get about 1.1 peak kw). Do older Americans just not care about utility bills?

Solar panels - is this "vogueish" or "into ecology" or just worrying about money? And do we assume that the real estate market not only ignores the benefit of solar panels (any measure that lowers utility bills) AND actually reduces the value of the home for having them?

* given we are talking about silver black panels which may or may not be visible from the front, but cover some square feet of the south and or west facing roof?

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:59 am

bottlecap wrote:If I were buying they would be a negative because they are ugly and I would be concerned about maintenance.
I am fascinated by this mindset that thinks they are ugly? What, compared to your average North American roof? These are not (AFAIK) Welsh slate tiles (that will last 300 years) that you use in North America? The part I know well (Ontario) they are synthetic slate things that you replace every 30-40 years (if you are lucky)-- they don't look pretty. And these are pre WW2 houses. The post WW2 ones are generally--- aesthetically challenged shall we say*. I see pictures of red clay or concrete tiles in southern locations, i.e. Spanish style. OK that's a bit better on the eye, but a solar array doesn't change that much-- at least in Spain people don't seem to mind them?
Not saying that I would never buy a house with them, but I wouldn't pay more fore them and they might scare me aware if I didnt fully have the time to research what they might mean for my wallet down the road.

And in the middle of the home buying process would not be a good time to learn.

JT
I would suppose the real estate market is fairly efficient about such things. I certainly found it to be so in just about every other aspect-- if a house needed new kitchens and/or bathrooms, it was cheaper. If it was 30 foot closer to a busy road, it was cheaper. If the 3 or 4th bedroom was just a box, that was reflected in the price. etc etc. I concluded there were few "bargains" in residential real estate-- the market is not stupid, agents are not stupid, sellers and competing buyers are not stupid.

So if buyers are going to delay or prevaricate on a house buying process because of a solar panel, or offer less because they don't value or perceive the benefits, then aren't they going to lose to buyers who don't delay, and who don't lower their offer? It's not as if, when someone makes an offer on a house, it is a secret that it has solar panels?


* anything built after about 1978 has a huge garage at the front occupying half or more of the frontage, a brick frontage (it's mock, the houses are all wood framed). The houses are jammed very close together due to the costs of land and municipal services. You see them in a million real estate ads. They don't look pretty -- at least not in 3000 home subdivisions.

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by mrc » Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:22 pm

Valuethinker wrote: * anything built after about 1978 has a huge garage at the front occupying half or more of the frontage, a brick frontage (it's mock, the houses are all wood framed). The houses are jammed very close together due to the costs of land and municipal services. You see them in a million real estate ads. They don't look pretty -- at least not in 3000 home subdivisions.
Yet another time I wish we had like buttons. :happy

My solar is in the back, and doesn't affect the "curb appeal" one bit. And my electric bill is half what it would be without the PV. WIll I see any of that back when I sell? No, the system will be too old by then. But I get a "check" in the mail for $100+ every month because of the panels. So, solar increased the value to me.
A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you're doing it right, but not enough to know you're doing it wrong. — Neil deGrasse Tyson

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:58 pm

mrc wrote:
Valuethinker wrote: * anything built after about 1978 has a huge garage at the front occupying half or more of the frontage, a brick frontage (it's mock, the houses are all wood framed). The houses are jammed very close together due to the costs of land and municipal services. You see them in a million real estate ads. They don't look pretty -- at least not in 3000 home subdivisions.
Yet another time I wish we had like buttons. :happy

My solar is in the back, and doesn't affect the "curb appeal" one bit. And my electric bill is half what it would be without the PV. WIll I see any of that back when I sell? No, the system will be too old by then. But I get a "check" in the mail for $100+ every month because of the panels. So, solar increased the value to me.
The value of the system is the cash flow it produces. That's often contractual. Future systems might be more efficient, but not yield the same cash flows (the subsidies have been slashed here in the UK).

If the system produces $1200 pa in cash flow (and that is after tax?) then it's worth the discounted value of that cash flow into the future until it runs out.

So the system should have some value to a future buyer, even if it is "obsolete". The world is full of obsolete machines that still produce value for the owners and so do not get scrapped.

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by hale2 » Thu Aug 03, 2017 3:09 pm

I guess if you live close enough to the water that your house will be uninhabitable in 2-3 decades from rising sea levels, then you're rich enough that whether or not solar panels increase the value of a house isn't important (which was the original topic of the post).

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by AnonJohn » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:56 pm

DOE's Lawrence Berkeley lab did a study in 2015. Reasonably comprehensive, but weighted to California. IIRC the basic conclusion was that panels "consistently" add value to the home when sold given (a) subtract the 30% tax credit off the top and (b) depreciate linearly over a 10 year period.

I get that the tax credit is priced in, but the rapid depreciation was somewhat surprising. It's much less than the net present value of the future stream of electricity even over the system's warranty period. My guess is that people depreciate it much like other major household systems.

http://newscenter.lbl.gov/2015/01/13/be ... ome-sales/

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by hightower » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:59 pm

If the panels significantly impact how much you pay in electricity, then of course they add value to the house. Once home batteries become more affordable, houses with solar panels coupled with whole house battery systems will be highly sought after because there will be zero utility bills (unless you have to use gas to heat your home in the winter).
I'm going to be building a small passiv house in the next 1-2 years and we plan on installing enough solar to fully power everything in the house. At first we'll take advantage of net metering while we wait for batteries to go down in price and up in capacity. We'll then be using Tesla Powerwall's to store all the energy we make and use it for 100% off grid power. We might be looking into installing a Tesla roof as well since they currently come with an infinite warranty.
Last edited by hightower on Thu Aug 03, 2017 8:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: does solar increase the value of a house

Post by F150HD » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:14 pm

not as many panels in the mid-west on homes.
Last edited by F150HD on Thu Aug 03, 2017 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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