Belfast Maine Solar Array
Studies find that solar arrays, such as this 6.24kw array for homeowners in Belfast, add a price premium to a home relative to their original retail cost.

We’re often asked “Does solar add to my home’s value?” and our answer is ‘Yes’ – though exactly how much has not been entirely certain as realtors and appraisers are still learning how to properly weigh the value of renewable energy additions to a home.

That is why we laud studies such as those highlighted in a recent NY Times “Green” article, which found that solar photovoltaic arrays added close to their exact retail cost to a home’s value (even years after the investment started to pay for itself).

Felicity Barringer writes:

Homeowners who have been installing residential solar panels over the last decade may find it was a more practical decision than they thought … if they choose to sell their homes, the price premium they will get for the solar system should let them recoup much of their original capital investment.

…The premium [for homes with PV] ranged from $3.90 to $6.40 per watt of capacity, but tended most often to be about $5.50 per watt. This, the study said, ‘corresponds to a home sales price premium of approximately $17,000 for a relatively new 3,100-watt PV system (the average size of PV systems in the study).’

And the bottom line: ‘These average sales price premiums appear to be comparable to the investment that homeowners have made to install PV systems in California, which from 2001 through 2009 averaged approximately $5/watt.’

In other words, when it comes time to sell a home, most homeowners find that their solar PV system adds as much to their home’s value as what they originally paid for it. Consider: what other home improvement will not only pay for itself, but be worth its original retail value when you sell your home?

More reading: http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/21/study-finds-solar-panels-increase-home-values/ and http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110421122408.htm.