by Adele Peters
Switching to solar power can pay you back in more ways than a lower electric bill: houses with solar panels have also been proven to have a higher resale value. Even if you sell your home before you’ve had the opportunity to use solar power over a long period, the panels are still a good investment.
After 8 ½ years of research on California home values, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs concluded that houses with solar power sell for more money. The premium varied from $3.90 to $6.40 per watt of power on the home. The average premium was $5.50 per watt. For a house with about 3kW of solar power– the average amount in the study– that adds up to a sale price that’s about $17,000 more than an ordinary house.
The study came out last year, and the researchers pointed out that the average premium was more than the average amount homeowners spent to originally get their solar systems. During their study period (2001-2009) people spent $5/watt on average. With those numbers, you’re able to not only recoup your original investment, but actually make a little money. The cost of installing solar power is lower now– closer to $4/watt. If premiums stay the same, a homeowner could now get an even better return on their investment.