by Anders Alexarder
Now for the long answer.
Solar can increase the sale price of a home, just like expensive new countertops in the kitchen can. Studies do show that on average a home sells for more if it has solar on it, and it sells more quickly. My neighbor bought solar from me a couple of years ago, and the new homeowner told me recently that solar on the roof was the deciding factor in choosing the home over another one.
Incentives are transferable to the new homeowner. So, if Washington state is paying $1,000-$5,000 per year as a rebate for the system, then the new homeowner has checks coming their way and all they need to do is keep the system on the roof. The old incentive system ends 2020, and the new incentive system that started in 2017 is a set 8 years from the date of the installation. Each home will then have a different rebate amount going to the new homeowner, and this should be acknowledged in the sale of the home.
Warranty coverage is important. The new homeowner will need the warranty for the system transferred from the installation company if it is still valid. If the installation company has a 10 year warranty, then buying a system in its 11th year means that any issues need to be self-detected and the new homeowner will have to pay to have any issues fixed. The manufacturing warranty is only as good as the manufacturer’s ability to stay in business, so there are potential costs from having to deal with broken parts when the manufacturer is gone. Also, the new homeowner will have to put the system on their new homeowner’s insurance, which is easy and cheap.
The age of the system is important when the home is sold, just like the age of the water heater in the home. If it is at the end of its life then it has no value. It does cost money to take a system down, so buying a home with an almost dead system will definitely not increase the price of the home.
The intention of the new homeowner is also important. If they plan to remodel the roof or demolish the house then solar would not have a value.
Aesthetics is important. Some people will not buy a home with solar on it, like some people will not buy a home with a brick façade. There is a large enough portion of the home buying market that does like solar so it doesn’t generally impede the sale of a home. Aesthetics are important though, an installation does need to look good and be done right. The lesson here is to choose a solar company that discusses visuals during the sales process so that the layout of the system blends as much into the home as large square boxes on the roof can.
If the context is right then solar will add value to the home, or make it sell more quickly.