Is buying a home with solar panels the right choice for you? Currently, solar power accounts for just 3.9 percent of total U.S. electricity generation, but that number is rapidly growing. Ultimately, there are a few things to consider when determining if the house you are shopping for should be equipped with solar panels or not.
According to Zillow, homes with solar panels sell for 1.4 percent more than homes without them. They’re also viewed similarly to upgraded kitchens or remodeled bathrooms, because they increase a home’s value.
Solar panels save money
The amount of money you’ll be saving will depend on the amount of solar power you generate, local utility rates, and how much energy the utility pays you for when you return it to the power grid. If your solar panels are leased, how much you save will also be dependent on the lease terms.
When buying a house with solar panels, you can check what you could save on monthly utility bills with The National Utility Rate Database. This database allows you to look up current electricity rates in areas around the country.
Lease or own the solar panels
If you’re considering buying a house with solar panels, you’ll want to ask if they are leased or owned. Owning the solar panels on your house is the best financial decision since solar panel lessees save less than those who purchase them outright.
You might save some money up front with a lease, but you may lose that advantage when buying a home with existing leased panels. When leasing solar panels, homeowners can lose control of just how many panels are placed on their roof and where, since the leasing company will be focused on maximizing its own bottom line.
Furthermore, a lease term for solar panels is generally 20 years. That means if you’re buying a home that has years left on the solar lease, you, as the home buyer, become the lessee.
Amount of maintenance
Solar panels basically do their thing with little effort on your part. With this in mind, you’ll want to make sure to protect your investment. With proper solar panel care, they can last up to 30 years!
You’ll need to clean the panels to keep them going. That means scraping off dirt and debris a couple times per year and after storms that may leave them covered in debris. Cleaning will ensure the panels get plenty of sunlight to work efficiently. You may also want to hire a professional annually for an inspection to make sure the panels are functioning as they should.