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Are Homes With Solar Really Worth More?


Solar Home Worth nearly 30,000 more.

For years, we’ve been talking about how much solar panels increase the value of your home. We use a simple calculation to determine the increase in value: We add the energy savings you’ll see per year for 20 years. Well, it looks like we’re not just blowing solar smoke; study after study after study comparing sales of solar and non-solar houses show clearly that homes—even near-identical homes in the same community—sell for more with solar. But we know you don’t want to read a 200-page PDF to find out, so we’ve collected some of the most important information below.

In California, way back in the medieval times of 2001, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory began looking at what they called “high-performance” or “zero energy” homes, and compared them to similar homes without solar installed. The researchers followed the life of the homes for 5 years, from building to resale, and what they found is great news for anyone who wants to go solar: people who owned homes with solar panels were happier living in them, and they experienced the promised energy savings. Better yet, when the owners of solar homes sold them, they made 14% more money, in this case, that’s over $43,500 more.

Pile of Benjamins

Imagine THAT pile of cash.

But wait, I can almost hear all you smart people saying “that was before the housing bubble burst! Those numbers can’t be right anymore!” Well, I’m here to tell you that they’re nearly as good today. Researchers responsible for the most recent study out of California concluded that “each 1-kW increase in size equates to a $5,911 higher Premium,” meaning that homes with a 5-kW installation (the size on which we always base our estimates) sell for a price almost $30,000 higher than a similar home without solar.

And that value is shown to remain even years into the solar panels’ usable life span. A Colorado study from 2013 that compared numerous sales of solar and non-solar homes from around the state showed price premiums of between $1,100 and $3,920 per kW for systems that were between 3 and 5 years old. We’re still talking between $6,000 and $20,000 more for solar homes, even in snowy Colorado.

The bottom line with home value increase is that, should you decide to sell, you can be sure to recoup your investment in solar, even if your system hasn’t paid for itself yet. Just another way that solar is a safe bet. And the best solar states recognize that value and provide property tax exemptions for the added value as an incentive to homeowners who install panels.

With all this good news, why not get a free quote from one of our trusted partner installers in your area?


EDIT: As redditor champyonfiyah points out…

from the linked through study (pdf link)…

From the summary, page 293.

Of the 30 case studies:

  • None of the homes were sold for less because they had a PV system.
  • Twenty‐one homes sold for higher because they had a PV system.

Of the properties where PV contributed positively to their value:

  • The LOW value indication per kW ranged (excluding the one $300 per kW indicator as it had extenuating circumstances) from $1,450 to $2,570.
  • The HIGH value indication per KW ranged (again, excluding the $300 per kW indicator) from $1,620 to $2,570.
  • Thus, the LOW and HIGH value indications are in the same general value range.

With regard to the marketability of the properties with PV systems:

  • Four had longer marketing times because they had PV systems.
  • Twenty four properties had much lower marketing times as compared to the average days-on-market for their area

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A graph: The true cost of banking bailouts vs. Chinese investment in solar power vs. US investment in solar power (including Solyndra)


Since Dave and I founded SPR 5 years ago, something that comes up in conversation often is how much misinformation there is regarding solar power and how much the U.S. government spends on it. To put things in perspective, we compared the cost of the Iraq war to investment in different energy sources several years ago.

Now, after being annoyed enough that the House of Representatives are so brazen as to not just write, but pass a “No More Solyndras” bill, it was high time to provide some more much needed perspective.

There was not even a peep out of the House of Representatives to move toward a full audit of all the U.S. government’s expenditures and promises toward the bank bailouts just two years ago, initial tabulations by individuals at Bloomberg as reported by PBS have put the full costs of those bailouts at $12.8 Trillion dollars. That dwarfs the publicly reported figure of $700 Billion dollars for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

It took the courage of a man who is now dead to sue the Federal Reserve to get insight into where all those trillions upon trillions of dollars actually went. We didn’t hear much about that story, as it seemed not too many members of congress cared enough to look into it further.

Instead, they’d rather declare all out war against investing in solar energy across the country, when compared to these other monstrous obligations is flat out laughable. See for yourself the full estimated costs of the bailout:

Above, you saw our chart. This compares the total cost of those bank bailouts (including TARP) to the amount of subsidy and investment China has committed to developing solar energy technology, compared to the amount of solar subsidies the U.S. has committed to, against finally the cost of Solyndra (the dead horse effigy all our Republican friends making a point to pour as much oil on as possible).

We’ve written before about the effects of China, and how much more solar investment would be required here to even to jump in the pool to compete.

We’re behind.

Outlawing investment in solar innovation just winds back the clock further and protects the wallet lining of those who should frankly be in jail instead of shrugging like Atlas.

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States with the Most Solar Power per Capitca

best states with solar power

Where is the US solar market growing fastest? One way to get at that question is to dig deeper in to some obvious data about how much solar has been installed in the country: Take a look at per capita solar installations to date and last year.

How many watts of solar have been installed per person in each state? The answer to that question will reveal markets where solar panels are becoming vastly more visible across the landscape – worthy of further attention here at SPR. Let’s take a look:

Which states have the most solar power?

I created the chart above from data in the last Interstate Renewable Energy Council report on solar energy trends in the country.

I gathered population data in each state, then divided the total installed watts by total population by to arrive at the associated figures you see in the bar chart above (All this of course before I realized IREC created a table with similar data for the top ten states you see below right.)

In top states figures of close to 40 watts per person are equal to everyone in the state, everyone having 1/5th of a solar panel over their heads. Babies, grandmas, bartenders, everyone. That’s pretty impressive.

What’s also interesting is that the top three states listed above (NV, HI, and NJ) now have more solar installed per capita than California, the solar pioneer in many ways.

In the northeastern corridor, strong state solar incentives have become a key driver to recent installations.

I was particularly surprised at how quickly the Nevada solar market is blossoming over the past few years.

With that in mind, we’ll be updating Nevada state incentives and rebate policies tomorrow afternoon to see if anything new has come to light we’ve glossed over.

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How much surface area would be required to power the planet with solar?

(click the image to enlarge it, courtesy of

Solar Cynic Joe: 500k square kilometers? It might seem small on the world map, but that’s a whole ton of solar panels…

Science Geek Jane:: How cool!! That many panels would produce 94,000,000,000kWp, or 94 terawatts!

Solar Cynic Joe: BUT, that comes at a cost of $290.836 TRILLION (~5x global GDP). And that number renews every 25 years, because that’s the expected life of solar panels now.

Science Geek Jane: So it’s only about 10 Trillion a year? How much do we spend on energy a year now?

Nerdbot 2000: In 2006, Americans spent $1.158 trillion on energy (8.8% of GDP).
$10 trillion is about 16% of world GDP ($63 trillion). This project would represent the largest single piece of GDP every single year, overtaking health care.

Solar Cynic Joe: In the US, that’s $1.166 trillion a year that would need to come out of something else…

Science Geek Jane: …To power the our share of the entire world without fossils or nuclear? Hey that’s only two times the amount of our defense budget. Think about it.

Dave, Dan and Solar Fred: At the very least, get yourself a quote for solar on your home. We’re willing to bet the farm you won’t be looking at an estimate higher than 16% of GDP! You may be surprised at how good an investment solar panels are for your home.

How much can you save with a solar roof in ?

Profit from your roof space: find local deals on solar in , eliminate your power bill, and join the solar revolution.

Calculate my savings!

Solyndra in perspective

Right wingers are quick to point fingers at solar company Solyndra and their owners for waste after the government awarded them a multi-million dollar grant last year. Now, the company is bankrupt, a result of poor decision-making at the firm and a greedy few at the top.

No matter what industry you talk about, there are bound to be some bad apples out there. Hell, psychopathology runs rampant in a sizable portion of fortune 500 companies. Only a matter of time before you see some ill consequences of poor management in the solar industry.

Dave and his crew at 1bog have released another infographic to put the matter in a little better perspective. Yes, the font is a little small, click it to enlarge!

How much can you save with a solar roof in ?

Profit from your roof space: find local deals on solar in , eliminate your power bill, and join the solar revolution.

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U.S. government energy subsidies by type of electricity produced

I made this chart this afternoon after being frustrated arguing with some coal wonks about how subsidies for renewables are a waste of taxpayer money.

These people are certainly entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts. As you can see, coal, natural gas, and nuclear power receive multiple times the amount of government cheese as other renewables. These figures are straight from the U.S. Energy Information Association.

Please share and enjoy.

How much can you save with a solar roof in ?

Profit from your roof space: find local deals on solar in , eliminate your power bill, and join the solar revolution.

Calculate my savings!