Most homeowners consider adding solar panels for one (or a combination) of three reasons:
- They’re environmentally conscious.
- They’re looking to save money.
- They think it will add value to their home when they sell it.
Very few people will argue against it being an earth-friendly decision to make if that’s your motivation.
And, theoretically, they should save you money on electricity. But you should do some serious math before signing on the bottom line. They may cost you more to install and upkeep than the savings they will generate, depending upon how long you plan on staying in the home.
However, if you’re doing it with the notion that it’ll add value to your home when you sell, you may want to think twice before signing on the dotted line.
First of all, it’s difficult to quantify how much, if anything, solar panels add to the bottom line when you sell your house. But more importantly, they could limit your pool of buyers considerably for a few reasons:
- Some buyers just aren’t into how they look on a house… You could argue that it’s awful for a buyer to judge them based upon aesthetics, but buyers turn their noses up at houses for even a paint color they don’t like which they could easily change.
- It might cost them… If you leased the system, they could be on the hook for the remaining term of the lease, or have to sign a new lease with the company that installed and owns the system.
- Maintaining them… It’s hard for buyers to fully know how much solar panels will cost to upkeep. Plus, they often wonder if it will have an impact on the roof and potential leaks. Even if it doesn’t, when they do have to replace a roof, they have to consider the added cost of dealing with removal and replacement of the panels.
But the reality is, there’s a good chance you’ll hear a solar salesperson tell you that it will add value to the home. Ask them for the data that backs up the claim, and make sure the data is specific to your area. In all likelihood, anything they can point to will be general and broad strokes. It would be highly unlikely that a solar salesperson would be able to accurately assess exactly how much value it would add to your home.
Perhaps someday every home will have solar power, but at this point that isn’t the case.
The demand and appeal for solar panels will vary depending upon where you live, the local market conditions overall, and the mindset of the buyers in your area.
So if you’re concerned about how much solar panels will add or detract from the value or saleability of your home, speak to your local real estate agent (ahem!) before committing to putting them on your house. A local agent can advise you on how well-received solar panels are by buyers in your area, and price range, and help you assess how much it will add to the value of your home, if anything.