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Study shows solar PV adds value to home

A recent study in the USA has shown that solar PV panels increase the sale value of a home. Research suggests that homeowners who have installed solar panels on their home will recoup the cost of the investment upon the sale of their home.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Laurence Berkeley National Laboratory compared the sale values of 2,000 solar homes and 70,000 non-solar homes in California from 2000 to 2009. They found that the presence of a solar panel array increased the resale value of existing homes by up to $7.7 per watt. The value of new homes with solar panels was increased by up to $2.6 per watt.

Researchers controlled for factors such as housing market fluctuations as well as the size and age of the home. On average, their findings show that solar PV panels added an average of $5.50 per watt to the resale value of a home.

As suggested in the study, the total premium is comparable to the installation cost of the full system, meaning that the full cost of the system would be recouped upon the sale of the property. The leading author, Ben Hoen said of the study, “We find compelling evidence that solar PV systems in California have boosted home sales prices”.

Solar panels, it is suggested, act both as a differentiator to set a house apart from others and also as a means of speeding up the sales process.

The Feed-in Tariff programme to encourage the uptake of solar PV technology was introduced in California in February 2008 and has therefore been in place longer than in the UK. It could be suggested that as the UK solar markets grow and develop over time, they will follow the same trend with panels adding a comparable level of value to homes in the United Kingdom.

As well as adding to the final sale value of a home, investing in solar panels also provides homeowners with free clean electricity from the date of installation through to the date of the sale.

In the UK the Feed-in Tariff currently guarantees homeowners 43.3 pence for each unit of electricity that their PV system generates as well as an additional 3.1 pence for every unit that they export back into the national grid. This means that as well as providing a potential return on investment upon the sale of the property, solar panels can generate a guaranteed 25 year income for homeowners with a good rate of return.

With a growing understanding of the necessity of renewable energy and the financial incentives of the Feed-in Tariff, more and more solar PV systems are being installed across the UK. Once a system is installed, all of the clean green electricity which it produces is free for the owners of the system; thus increasing numbers of homeowners and organisations such as schools, farms and businesses are choosing to provide themselves with electricity in this way.

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