Solar PV Boosts the Sales Price of California Homes

There’s strong evidence that homes with solar PV systems sell for a higher sales price in California, according to a Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Lab report. 

"Average sales price premiums appear to be comparable with the average investment homeowners made to install PV systems," says Ben Hoen, lead researcher on the study and a Principal Research Associate at Berkeley Lab.

Homes sold, on average, at a $17,000 premium when they had  a relatively new 3,100 watt PV system (the average size of PV systems in the Berkeley Lab dataset), and compares to an average investment that homeowners made to install PV systems of about $5 per watt from 2001-2009.

"This is a sizable effect," says co-author and Staff Scientist Ryan Wiser of Berkeley Lab.  "This research might influence the decisions of homeowners considering installing a PV system and of home buyers considering buying a home with PV already installed. Even new home builders that are contemplating PV as a component of their homes can benefit from this research."

Approximately 2,100 megawatts (MW) of grid-connected solar PV have been installed in the U.S.  California has been and continues to be the country’s largest market for PV, with nearly 1,000 MW of installed capacity.  California is also approaching 100,000 individual PV systems installed, more than 90% of which are residential. 

The research analyzed a dataset of over 72,000 California homes that sold from 2000 through mid-2009, approximately 2,000 of which had a PV system at the time of sale. 

The research controlled for a large number of factors that could  influence results, such as housing market fluctuations, neighborhood effects, the age of the home, and the size of the home and the parcel on which it was located. 

The research also shows the premium declines as PV systems age. Existing homes with PV systems commanded a larger sales price premium than new homes with similarly sized PV systems. 

"One reason for the disparity between existing and new homes with PV might be that new home builders also gain value from PV as a market differentiator that speeds the home sales process, a factor not analyzed in the Berkeley Lab study," says co-author and Berkeley Lab Principle Scientific Engineering Associate Peter Cappers.

Download the report or Read the 2-page summary of "An Analysis of the Effects of Residential Photovoltaic Energy Systems on Home Sales Prices in California":

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