With nearly one million solar energy systems installed on residential rooftops across the country, buying or selling a solar home is getting more and more common. Just like a renovated kitchen or a finished basement increases a home’s value, solar has been shown to boost home valuation and shorten a home’s time on the market. In addition, new borrowing tools give solar-interested homeowners access to financing programs that can lower the cost of capital and unlock new ways to go solar. The real estate market is embracing solar, making it vital that real estate agents, appraisers, and homeowners increase their solar knowledge and leverage the premium-boosting power of a solar system to sell or refinance their homes.
SETO has funded projects, tools, and resources designed to help make it easy to purchase a solar system for your home, or buy or sell a solar home. This spotlight on solar and real estate aims to highlight our extensive work in this area and connect these resources with the professionals and homeowners who can use this information.
Check out the resources below and join the conversation with #SolarRealEstate.
Solar and Real Estate Blog Posts
Featured Stakeholder Blog Posts
- 50 Most Solar-Saturated Zip Codes in California - published by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (SETO awardee)
- No Trick of the Light: Solar Energy Has Entered Real Estate - published by Zillow
- What You Need to Know Before Adding Solar Panels to Your Home - published by Redfin
- Timely Solar Training for Design Professionals Coming Soon - published by Trust for Conservation Innovation and its Building Codes Assistance Project (SETO awardee)
- Helping Consumers #BeSolarSmart - published by Interstate Renewable Energy Council (SETO awardee)
- Shed Some Light on the Subject, Show Them the Money - published by Elevate Energy (SETO awardee)
Solar Boosts Home Values
- Homeowners Guide to Going Solar – While there’s no one-size-fits-all solar solution, this guide compiles answers to frequently asked questions on solar and resources that can help homeowners determine what’s best for them.
- Solar Energy Resources for Homebuilders – This guide is designed to help homebuilders understand the added value of solar and lists resources for integrating solar into new homes.
- Capturing the Sun: A Roadmap for Navigating Data-Access Challenges and Auto-Populating Solar Home Sales Listings – this report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory guides solar and real estate professionals through the key challenges and the best path forward to add solar data into the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS.
- Appraising into the Sun: Six-State Solar Home Paired-Sales Analysis – This study from Berkeley National Laboratory shows that home buyers across the country have been willing to pay a premium of about $15,000 for a home with an average-sized solar array.
- Selling into the Sun: Price Premium Analysis of a Multi-State Dataset of Solar Homes – Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and their collaborators from other institutions conducted a comprehensive PV home premium analysis.
- Case Study: The Effectiveness of Zero Energy Home Strategies in the Marketplace – This study from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy shows that homes with solar panels sell faster than those without.
- Appraised Value and Energy Efficiency: Getting it Right – Energy efficiency can be overlooked in appraisals and the Building Codes Assistance Project provides guidance on how to get an appraisal that properly values energy efficient homes.
- Solar Basics for Homebuilders: Reducing the Total Cost of Ownership – This informational guide from Sandia National Laboratories explains how homebuilders can integrate PV into new homes to attract customers and increase their bottom line.
- Going Solar in America: Ranking Solar's Value to Consumers in America's Largest Cities – This report from the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center reveals that in 46 of America’s 50 largest cities, a fully-financed, typically-sized solar PV system is a better investment than the stock market, and in 42 of these cities, the same system already costs less than energy from a residential customer’s local utility.
- PV Value – Sandia National Laboratories has developed a prospective model of determining the value of PV. Sandia uses an income capitalization approach, which considers the present value of future energy production to determine the remaining value of a PV system. An online tool developed by Energy Sense Finance, has been released to the public.
- Unveiling High-Performance Home Premiums in Washington, DC – This resource from Adomatis Appraisal Services explores the value of high performance homes and the added impact of green features in Washington, DC.
- Residential Green Valuation Tools – This resource from the Appraisal Institute helps appraisers learn more about the features of green homes and the tools professionals will need to become a green-friendly appraiser.
- Residential Consumer Guide to Solar Power – This resource from the Solar Energy Industries Association aims to protect consumers as they navigate the going solar process.
- Solar Industry Commitment to Consumer Protection – This resource from the Solar Energy Industries Association is designed to help consumers understand available consumer protection efforts by the solar industry.
- Solar Transaction Disclosure Forms – In an effort to protect consumers, the Solar Energy Industries Association created standard transaction disclosure forms.
- Consumer Solar Checklist –This list by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council is designed to encourage Americans to consider important pieces of information before entering into a contract to install a solar system.
- Clean Energy Consumer Bill of Rights – The Interstate Renewable Energy Council has created this guideline to address consumer issues, including safety, contractual transparency, warranties, and privacy issues realted to renewable energy technologies.
- Fannie Mae HomeStyle Energy – This new mortgage option gives borrowers the ability to complete clean energy upgrades for up to 15% the appraised value of their homes. Borrowers are able to finance energy-efficient upgrades when purchasing or refinancing a home, eliminating the need for a subordinate lien, home equity line of credit, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan, or unsecured loan.
- Fannie Mae Guidance for Homes with Solar Panels – Fannie will purchase/securitize homes where the owners have purchased solar panels or have a third party financing agreement in place.
- FHA Programs that Can Help Homeowners Save Energy – This overview from the FHA lists the programs and resources from their office that can help homeowners save energy and finance renewable energy systems.
- A Homeowners' Guide to Solar Financing – The Clean Energy States Alliance has released a guide to help homeowners navigate the complex landscape of residential solar system financing.
- Model Leases and PPAs –The Solar Energy Industries Association created model contracts in an effort to further consumer protection and cost reduction programs.
- Community and Shared Solar – An explanation of community and shared solar, an overview of SETO-funded projects in this area, and information and resources on this emerging topic.
- National Community Solar Partnership – The National Community Solar Partnership works to expand access to community and shared solar throughout the nation, especially in low- and moderate-income households.