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

Repairing Things is the Antidote for Our Throwaway Society

Let’s make fixing stuff the norm, not the exception.

Be a rebel and join the repair movement. Declare your dissatisfaction with our throwaway society by fixing things instead of tossing them in the trash.

Whether you like it or not, if you are an American, you live in a throwaway society where people routinely throw broken things away instead of fixing them. It was not always so but today the influx of inexpensive products and the constant bombardment of advertising influence our repair and buying habits. The price of products does not include the cost of damaging our environment so low prices and convenience makes it tempting to buy a new item instead of repairing a broken one.

Throwing away damaged and broken things or sticking them in the back of the garage and then buying new replacements is harming people and the planet, but you can help change our culture by joining a growing movement of people who believe in repairing things instead of trashing them.

Repairing Things is a Green Thing to Do

Everything we use in our daily lives has an environmental impact that results from mining, logging, extracting fossil fuels, processing materials, manufacturing products, transporting goods, and disposing of waste.

Another perhaps even more compelling issue to consider is that our planet does not have unlimited resources or land.

We can conserve Earth’s dwindling resources and protect our land from more waste dumps by repairing things if they get broken or damaged and using them as long as possible.

Everyone Can Participate in the Repair Movement

The essential attribute for participating in the repair movement is the willingness to consider repairing things instead of automatically throwing them in the trash.

You can learn repair skills and/or get assistance from friends, family members, coworkers, repair professionals, and a wide variety of sources that did not previously exist.

For instance, the Internet is chock full of step-by-step instructional videos on how to replace parts and repair thousands of different products from leaky faucets to malfunctioning automatic garage door openers to broken smartphone screens. Community centers provide tools and equipment for people interested in pursuing artistic endeavors, tinkering, and repairing things. Imagine being able to fix your vacuum cleaner handle using a part printed on a 3D printer. Repair cafés and re-skilling events bring people together to share knowledge and learn new skills.

Below are two examples of repaired items, one I did myself and my spouse helped me with the other one.

A Tale of Two Repairs

My dad was Mr. Fixit and repaired many things around our home when I was a kid, including our cars. The fixit gene passed me by so I am not too handy when it comes to repairing most things. Luckily, my mother taught me how to sew, which means that I can mend clothing tears and replace missing buttons.

Rain Coat Repair

Over twenty years ago, I needed to buy a rain/warm coat for a business trip and since it was the off-season where I lived, my two choices were hot pink or forest green. I chose the green coat and wore it for many years before the bottom button fell off and was lost.  Initially, I attempted to ignore the problem, but the cool and windy climate where I now live motivated me to address it.

Rain Coat Repair - New Top ButtonFinding a replacement button to match the existing buttons was not possible and I did not want to replace all the buttons.

My solution was moving the top button to the bottom and sewing on a new black button at the top where I think it looks less odd.

I was able to accomplish the repair myself by spending a couple of dollars on a package of buttons and a few minutes with a needle and thread. Now, my coat is ready for a several more decades of wear.

Weed Whacker Repair

About five years ago, I bought a Black & Decker battery powered weed whacker (string trimmer) for $99.99. It is made of metal and plastic components and uses a rechargeable nickel cadmium battery (cadmium is a toxic material that requires special handling when disposing of the battery).

A few weeks ago, as I was wielding the weed whacker around our wild yard in preparation for fire season, the motor stopped working. I looked up the model number online and discovered that Black & Decker had discontinued it and replaced it with a similar model available for $69.99.

The environmentally sound solution seemed to be to try to repair it so I asked my mechanically inclined spouse for assistance.

After taking the weed whacker apart, my spouse determined that a tiny piece in the motor assembly had failed. Although some replacement parts were available online such as the handle, cover, and battery pack, the motor was not. Fortunately, a similar motor was located online and purchased for about $20 including tax and shipping. Once the new motor arrived, it took my spouse less than an hour to install it and reassemble the weed whacker. I was back in business.

If there is a moral to this story, it is that repairing stuff is possible if you are willing to make the effort and that keeping our planet habitable is a group effort.

Let us stop being a throwaway society and become a repair nation where fixing stuff is the norm, not the exception. Please share your repair story with other readers.

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