Determining the amount of value a solar (PV) system adds to a residence has never been an easy task. For many years, it was an intangible and implied value. As a whole, the solar industry and homeowners will generally agree that a home equipped with a solar system will be more desirable than a comparable one without. The trouble comes when trying to monetize that factor. The immediate financial benefits to the homeowner are well documented; tax credits, Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) income, utility savings, etc, and can easily be modeled, but we are now finally seeing studies that place a dollar amount on the increase in property value as well.
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory studied this issue last year (2013). The study looked at 1,849 solar equipped homes in California and compared their sales to 70,425 non-solar equipped homes in the same neighborhoods. Controlling for various other factors that contribute to a home value (interior finished, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc) the results showed that larger solar systems commanded a higher sales price (nearly $6,000 more per kW) and each year a system ages the premium dropped $2,400 per kW.
Not a groundbreaking revelation, but it’s a good start.
During the same time frame as the Berkeley study, the Colorado Energy Office commissioned a paper titled “The Impact of Photovoltaic Systems on Market Value and Marketability”. The study looked at 30 homes and determined that in 22 of the 30, the presence of a PV system contributed $1,400 to $2,600 per kW to the homes value.
It’s great that as an industry, we are finally seeing numbers quantifying what all of us already knew. It’s even better for our customers who know have yet another revenue stream to rely upon to shorten their ROI!
Look for additional studies in the near future from Berkeley Labs. The next paper will involve 150,000+ homes in 14 states.