Most people who go solar plan to remain in the home they are in for a while. It's the best way to take advantage of the years of free electricity their new solar array will generate once it is fully paid off. Staying in place is exactly what Joe Farjani and Laurel Millette did not do - but they found that even in leaving their first solar investment behind, the positive effects of solar stayed with them.
Their first array was installed in 2011, after sitting down at their Westford, MA home with a local solar sales rep and realizing solar was a smart choice. "We just looked at each other and went, 'Why do people not do this?'" Joe says. Yet, just six years later they found themselves putting their solar home up for sale.
Luckily, the positive energy from their solar super-charged more than just their savings on their electric bill. They didn't even have a chance to hold an open house - their home sold within 48 hours of being on the market. "We did not expect it to sell that fast - especially in November!" says Joe. He attributes the fast sell to the fact that the family who bought it were looking for a place with the ability to go off grid. With the solar that groundwork was already in place. "It was the perfect house for them," he says.
While Joe and Laurel needed to pay off the remainder of their solar loan, their Westford home not only sold quickly, it went for $30,000 above the asking price. Their experience corroborates a 2015 study by Berkeley Labs . Looking at home sales in 6 states, the study found that homebuyers were willing to pay a $15,000 premium for a home with an average-sized solar array, compared to a similar home without it.
A 2019 study by Zillow found a similar result - on average, a median-valued home would fetch $9,274 more than its non-solar counterparts, and in some locations premiums for solar were even higher, upwards of $20,000. Significant energy savings paired with the ability to protect the environment makes purchasing an already solar home appealing. The 2018 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report noted that energy efficiency features were important to more than 80% of homebuyers. "People are more aware of environmental issues and are willing to mitigate them," says Joe. "Having solar adds value to your house!"
Just because they were moving didn't mean that Joe and Laurel were prepared to leave solar behind them. Joe called their salesman, Bob Morton, before they were even in their new house to give him the move-in date and set up a solar site visit.
In the intervening time, Bob had joined the team at ReVision, at the newly opened branch in North Andover, MA. "Bob's really good at supporting his clients," says Joe, explaining why he was determined to stick with him. He quickly found that the rest of the ReVision team was no different. "Everyone I spoke to was friendly, from the install team to the first person who came by the house to take measurements," says Joe.
In addition, Joe was quite pleased with the final project. "ReVision does a great job as far as the appearance of the solar panels," he says. "The electrical conduits are hidden from view. It just looks better - you can tell the installers know exactly what they're doing."
Joe thinks the great aesthetics are part of the reason why his neighbors in Harvard have been stopping by to ask about their solar. He has already referred two of his neighbors to Bob, one of whom is having solar installed next month. It's also high electricity prices that drives interest, especially for young families. "People are looking for ways to reduce those costs," says Joe. He knows first-hand that solar works - at their own home, their 40-panel solar array has winnowed a $500 summertime electric bill down to a $65 credit from their utility.
While the excellent savings are of course a motivator, for Joe and Laurel it's also about knowing that they're making a difference. "Solar just makes you feel good!" he says. They are intending to install battery storage within the next five years, and maybe someday in the future an electric vehicle will be in order.
In the meantime, Joe tries to spread the word as much as he can. "It makes good financial sense," he says. "I always try to get people to buy in." He wants his family, friends and neighbors to partake in the same benefits from solar as he and Laurel have. And as he can attest, even when life doesn't exactly follow the prescribed plan, with solar in the equation things still tend to turn out pretty sunny.