As you search for a new home, there are countless considerations to keep in mind: The location, the square footage, the general condition of the house, and more.
One additional factor to keep top-of-mind is solar paneling. Buying a home that already has solar panels installed can prevent you from having to recruit a quality solar panel company of your own, providing you with all the benefits of residential solar without the hassle of installation.
But it can also present some questions about solar maintenance, especially if you’ve never lived in a home with solar panels before.
So, what should buyers know about investing in a home that has its own solar panels? Here are eight important facts.
8 Things To Know About Buying A Home With Solar Panels
1. They Increase your Home Value Without Increasing Property Tax
Solar panels are a desirable feature among house hunters, which means that having a house with solar panels already installed can make it easier to sell the house later, potentially for a higher dollar amount.
Fortunately, while residential solar enhances the value of your property, it doesn’t increase property taxes.
This is because solar panels are generally protected under property tax exemption laws, one way in which state governments try to incentivize solar installation.
2. They Reduce Your Energy Bill
Of course, the main reason why house hunters look favorably upon solar panels is that they know their electrical bills will be lower.
Indeed, by harnessing the sun’s renewable energy, some homeowners can actually lower their monthly utility bill by a whopping 95 percent!
(The actual amount will vary depending on a number of factors, including your home’s solar exposure, your household energy consumption, the number of panels you have, and more.)
3. You Need To Consider Maintenance
Residential solar panels are designed to last for decades. You can extend the lifespan and
improve the performance of your solar system by attending to some basic maintenance
The main thing is just cleaning your solar panels every so often, ensuring that you turn them off first, and that you avoid using any harsh or abrasive detergents.
4. You Need To Know Whether You Will Lease Or Own The Solar Panels
Before you buy a home that has solar panels, make sure you have a clear understanding of whether you actually own those panels outright, or are just leasing them.
Leasing solar panels can be an affordable, accessible way to gain clean energy technology, but it will mean monthly payments until you own the panels outright.
If the previous homeowner was leasing their panels, then you may be able to simply continue the lease on the previously agreed-upon terms.
Obviously, if you own the panels outright, that’s easier and cheaper in the long run, though it may mean you pay a tiny bit more for the property.
5. Leased Solar Panels May Affect Your Mortgage.
There are a number of ways in which solar panels can impact your mortgage. For example, some lenders will actually require you to have a second energy source, or a backup energy source, in place.
Additionally, if you’re leasing solar panels, it can have an impact on your debt-to-income ratio, which can in turn affect the terms of your home loan.
You’ll definitely want to talk with your lender about the ramifications of a leased solar system.
6. You May Qualify For Tax Breaks And Incentives
The federal tax credit is available for new solar installations. The homeowner who installed the solar panels likely claimed this credit, which means you can’t claim it yourself when you buy the home.
With that said, there are a number of tax incentives available for solar panels, including incentives available at the state and municipal levels.
That’s to say nothing of local utility companies that offer bonuses for homeowners who go solar.
By all means, investigate local solar incentives when you move into a house that has solar panels.
7) You will have greater “Grid Independence.”
One of the greatest benefits of having a residential solar system is that it provides you with independence from the “power grid,” which tends to be shaped by local utility providers.
This means a smaller environmental footprint, smaller utility bills, and more.And, it means you can feel secure in your ability to generate affordable energy, no matter what happens on the grid.
8. You Will Save Money
Ultimately, one of the most important things to know about buying a home with solar panels is that it will allow you to reduce your monthly utility payments, potentially by a huge amount.
So even if you end up paying more for the house on the front end, it’s no exaggeration to say that the long-tail benefits of your solar panels can more than make up for it.