Historically, home appraisers have been reluctant to include solar system values in their home assessments. As solar systems have become more popular, however, there is some evidence that appraisers and buyers have adapted to the changing market and become more educated on the long-term benefits of solar.
A January 2015 study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory examined home sale transactions across eight states from 2002 to 2013. The study found that homebuyers have been willing to pay a premium for homes with PV solar systems regardless of a home’s geographic location or type. The study estimated the average increase in home value to equal approximately $4,000 per kilowatt of installed capacity, which equates to around $15,000 for a typical PV system.
An earlier 2003 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study found that the resale value of homes in California increased by $5,900 for each kilowatt of capacity installed and owned.
Another 2013 study by the Colorado Energy Office found that the overwhelming majority of realtors surveyed believe owned PV systems increase the market value and marketability of homes.
The impact that third-party solar leases have on home values, however, is less clear. Underwriting guidelines do not yet exist for third-party owned solar systems, and there have been some anecdotal reports of potential buyers balking at purchasing homes with existing third-party solar leases.