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.
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.
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
- Earth Day 2017 – Mr. President, Go Green
- Earth Day 2013 – Mr. President, Go Green
- Energy Policy Act of 2005 – Fracking and Drinking Water
- Rooftop Solar Costs Less than You Think
- Go Solar with Home Rooftop Photovoltaics – We Did
- Renewable Energy – Home Rooftop Solar Photovoltaics
- Renewable Energy – Solar Power
- Solar Power at the White House
- Solar Power – Photovoltaic History
- Appraising Into The Sun: Six-State Solar Home Paired-Sale Analysis, by Sandra Adomatis and Ben Hoen, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 11/12/15
- EERE Success Story—Real Estate Professionals Embrace Solar Power, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, 06/09/17
- Matrix Updates January 31, 2017, California Regional Multiple Listing Service
- Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016, United States Congress, 12/14/15
- Short-Term Energy Outlook, U.S. Energy Information Administration, 06/06/17
- PG&E Residential Rates Effective March 1, 2017
- California Electric and Gas Utility Cost Report, California Public Utilities Commission, April 2017
- NREL Report Shows U.S. Solar Photovoltaic Costs Continuing to Fall in 2016, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 09/28/16
- U.S. Energy and Employment Report and the Annual Energy Outlook 2017 with projections to 2050, U.S. Department of Energy, January 2017
- Congress Extends Solar Tax Credit – everything you need to know about the Federal ITC, by Sara Matasci, EnergySage, 03/12/17 (originally posted in 2016)
- Pros and Cons of Buying Solar vs. Leasing Solar vs. PPA agreements, by Andrew Sendy, Solar Reviews, 04/07/16
- Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit – DSIRE (Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy) Website
- Solar Job Census 2016, The Solar Foundation
- The Great Solar Panel Debate: To Lease Or To Buy?, by Jeff Brady, NPR, 02/10/15
- The Real Cost of Leasing vs. Buying Solar Panels, by Josh Garskof, Consumer Reports, 06/30/16
- The State of Residential Solar Power, by Lee Phillips, Ars Technica, 02/05/17