You Can Increase Your Home’s Value with Owned Solar Panels

Join the rooftop solar revolution!

Make an investment in your home and a clean renewable energy future for your children by installing rooftop solar panels, now.

If you are a homeowner, there is no better time to join the rooftop solar revolution and begin generating your own power. Besides helping to build the country’s clean renewable energy infrastructure, you will be increasing your home’s value.

Below are five reasons to consider joining the ranks of homeowners who have purchased a rooftop solar power system.

Home Sales Price Premium for Owned Solar Panels

Owned solar power systems can increase the value of your home and give you an edge over non-solar home sellers in your area.

Home rooftop solar panels are a relatively new home selling feature that will likely gain in importance as electricity prices continue rising and people become more concerned about getting their power from clean renewable sources. Fortunately, the real estate industry is embracing rooftop solar, incorporating it as part of the selling and buying process.

A November 2015 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study shows that energy efficiency-minded homebuyers are willing to pay a premium for homes that have owned solar power systems, even up to the cost of the system (less any rebates and tax incentives).1

The California Regional Multiple Listing Service, the largest in the country, added power production fields in January 2017 so now realtors can enter solar power system information for their listings in a standardized format.2, 3 Other multiple listing services will likely follow California’s example.

Now visualize yourself as a home seller who had the foresight to purchase and install solar panels on your rooftop.

First of all, a rooftop solar power system is a long-term investment that you benefit from as long as you own your home. For warranty purposes, the lifespan of most rooftop solar equipment is considered to be 20-30 years; however, at that point, although solar panels may be less efficient they do not stop working.

Second, depending on how soon you put your house on the market after purchasing your system, it may have already paid for itself.

Lastly, savvy potential homebuyers will realize the benefit of buying a home that already has an operational rooftop solar power system and they may be willing to pay you a premium for the ability to generate free electricity from the day they move in, especially in a sunny and hot climate. If you replaced an aging roof before installing solar panels, even better.

Federal Renewable Energy Tax Incentive

Homeowners considering purchasing solar panels rejoice. The legalese buried on page 2,005 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 4 can save you a pile of money via a 30% tax credit for your rooftop solar purchase.

Here is the gist of the tax credit. When Congress passed the far-reaching Energy Policy Act of 2005, it included a tax credit provision to encourage both business and residential renewable energy projects. Originally, the tax credit was set to expire at the end of 2007, but Congress has approved a series of extensions that pushed the end date back to December 31, 2021.

Here are some of the specifics related to the solar tax credit from the DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy) website.

  • 30% for systems placed in service by 12/31/2019.
  • 26% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2019 and before 01/01/2021.
  • 22% for systems placed in service after 12/31/2020 and before 01/01/2022.
  • There is no maximum credit for systems placed in service after 2008.
  • Systems must be placed in service on or after January 1, 2006, and on or before December 31, 2021.
  • The home served by the system does not have to be the taxpayer’s principal residence.

For example, if you purchase, install, and begin operating a solar power system costing $15,000 by December 31, 2019, you will be eligible for a 30% tax credit of $4,500. Depending on your tax situation, you could end up with a refund equal to part or all or your tax credit.

Rising Utility Electricity Rates

Have your electric rates ever actually gone down? I suppose it is possible, but it seems unlikely.

U.S. Residential Electricity Average Price Per Kilowatt-Hour - EIA June 2017

The U.S. Energy Information Administration seems to think that residential electricity prices will continue to rise. Data on their website shows that the average cost for a kilowatt-hour (kWh) of residential electricity increased by 53% from 8.0 cents to 12.22 cents between January 2003 and January 2017, and the agency is forecasting a kWh will reach 13.48 cents in 2018.5

Electric prices vary hugely by state and utility provider so your rates may be lower or higher than the U.S. average. For instance, where I live on the Central California Coast, we passed the 13.48 cents mark in 2006 and have now reached 23.0 cents in 2017.6

To put things in perspective, the California Public Utilities Commission reports that from 2012 to 2016 average electricity rates increased at an annual average of approximately 3.4%, which is well above the average inflation rate of 1.3% over the same time period.7

Low Solar Panel Prices

Through technological advances and competition, solar panel prices have come down over 50% since 2009.8 In fact, there is a global oversupply problem now, which is keeping prices low.

Support Your Local Economy

A 2017 U.S. Energy and Employment Report shows that 374,000 Americans are working full or part time in the solar industry, a workforce increase of 25% in 2016. American veterans hold 9% of the 260,077 full-time solar jobs.9

Many of the jobs in the solar industry are performed by women and men working for solar installation companies in your community. They might even be your neighbors. Solar companies employ people working in the field delivering and installing solar panels as well as people in sales, marketing, system design, project management, accounting, customer service, and leadership positions.

Homeowners We Have a Choice

Either we can stand on the sidelines watching as fossil fuel extraction and pollution-belching power plants destroy more land and contaminate more neighborhoods or we can do something about it by generating our own clean renewable energy and sharing it with the interconnected electric grids in our communities.

Group of Kids Playing at a Park

There is no better time than right now to go solar! Purchasing solar panels for your home is a sound financial investment and even more importantly, it pushes the ball forward in creating a clean renewable future for all our children.

We joined the rooftop solar revolution in 2013 and you can, too.

For homeowners interested in the pros and cons of leasing solar panels versus buying them, there are some articles in the resources section below.

If you have a rooftop solar success story you would like to share with other readers, please use the comment section below.

Featured Image at Top: Rooftop Solar Panels on the Home of the Unlikely Environmentalist – Danny from A.M. Sun Solar Finishing the Installation

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References

  1. Appraising Into The Sun: Six-State Solar Home Paired-Sale Analysis, by Sandra Adomatis and Ben Hoen, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 11/12/15
  2. EERE Success Story—Real Estate Professionals Embrace Solar Power, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, 06/09/17
  3. Matrix Updates January 31, 2017, California Regional Multiple Listing Service
  4. Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, United States Congress, 12/14/15
  5. Short-Term Energy Outlook, U.S. Energy Information Administration, 06/06/17
  6. PG&E Residential Rates Effective March 1, 2017
  7. California Electric and Gas Utility Cost Report, California Public Utilities Commission, April 2017
  8. NREL Report Shows U.S. Solar Photovoltaic Costs Continuing to Fall in 2016, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 09/28/16
  9. U.S. Energy and Employment Report and the Annual Energy Outlook 2017 with projections to 2050, U.S. Department of Energy, January 2017

Resources

ENERGY: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth – Book Review

Energy ignorance is not bliss.

If you have ever flipped a light switch, consider reading ENERGY: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth, an energy primer with dramatic photos.

Without energy, our lives would come to a screeching standstill so it seems to me that at a minimum we should have a basic understanding of what energy is, where it comes from, and how producing it affects people and the planet.

I discovered ENERGY during my own quest to learn more about how our society generates power and its impact on us and the environment. This book covers energy in an easy to read and understandable manner.

Book Review

As you turn the pages between the foreword and the introduction in ENERGY: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth, you will get a preview of what you are about to read. Twenty-five photos, each taking up two pages, show energy in a myriad of ways including a uranium prospecting site near the Grand Canyon, a palm oil plantation in Indonesia, a wind farm in California, a concentrated solar plant in Spain, and a tar sands extraction site in Alberta, Canada.

The remaining pages of the book will enlighten you about all forms of energy, provide you with a historical framework of how we got to where we are, examine economics and environmental impacts, uncover myths, and give you hope that there is a better way to power our world.

Accompanied by photos illustrating the subject matter, ENERGY is comprised of informational pieces and short essays written by energy experts, conservationists, authors, researchers, scientists, analysts, environmentalists, engineers, philosophers, and activists. The book’s content is organized into seven sections.

  • ENERGY: Overdevelopment and the Illusion of Endless Growth Book CoverPart I: A Deeper Look at the Energy Picture
  • Part II: The Predicament
  • Part III: The Landscape of Energy
  • Part IV: False Solutions
  • Part V: Wildness Under Attack
  • Part VI: Depowering Destruction
  • Part VII: What We’re For

The dedication for ENERGY: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth sums up what is at stake.

“For the wild creatures whose habitat is being destroyed by a rapacious energy economy, and for the children whose breathing is labored due to pollution from fossil fuels. May a future energy economy that mirrors nature’s elegance arrive soon enough to relieve their suffering.”

The Bottom Line

The Foundation for Deep Ecology published ENERGY: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth in collaboration with the Post Carbon Institute and Watershed Media. These three organizations are involved in educating, promoting, and advocating for a transition to a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable world.

ENERGY editors Tom Butler and George Wuerthner are both authors and activists with the Foundation for Deep Ecology. Their other books include Wildlands Philanthropy, Plundering Appalachia: The Tragedy of Mountaintop-Removal Coal Mining, Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy and Thrillcraft: The Environmental Consequences of Motorized Recreation.

I believe a wide range of people will find this book informative and I like the fact that you do not need to be a scientist or a technical person to understand the contents.

ENERGY is a large and hefty tome weighing in at 5.8 pounds with 336 pages and 152 color photographs. Due to its size, I found that it was more comfortable to read the book sitting open on my dining room table. A smaller book might be easier to handle, but I think the large photographs make an impact that could not be achieved with less page real estate. The information items and essays are short, which make this an ideal book for people with busy schedules. You can easily read a few pieces at a time and come back to others later. I read ENERGY during my lunch breaks over the course of a month or so.

When I purchased ENERGY: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth, I also bought and read its predecessor Plundering Appalachia: The Tragedy of Mountaintop-Removal Coal Mining. I am donating my copies to the local library so that others can read and share these remarkable books.

Featured Image at Top: BP Deep Water Horizon Oil Drilling Platform on Fire in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, Photo by unknown photographer

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Resources