As solar power becomes more affordable, many homeowners and their Realtors are having conversations about solar panels and home values. While solar panels offer an immediate benefit of lower utility bills, their full benefit goes well beyond lower electricity costs.

Research in the state of California has suggested the average homeowner that has solar panels represents a major step up on the market in comparison to their neighbors who do not. Many people may have heard that solar panels pay for themselves in the long term of energy consumption, but they can also pay for themselves in the added value of a house.

The premium added to a solar-powered house is about $4 to $5 per watt of power produced. Since an average California house uses a three-kilowatt solar system, it amounts to a price tag of about $15,000 to $20,000 higher than a house running on conventional electricity.

Solar Panels and Home Values: New Homes vs. Resales

Since people expect that a new house will have more modern features, sometimes they will see a solar panel and think that it is a standard in the housing industry. This simple bias means that an older house will get disproportionately more value out of installing solar panels than a newer home will.

In fact, an older home that installs a set of solar cells can see a value increase that is three times that of a new house with solar panels. Despite the fact that it costs the same amount of money on a new or an old home and the fact that solar panels have a shelf life (albeit a very long shelf life), the installation puts more money in the pocket of older homeowners.

The Economic Advantages of Solar Power at Home

There are many reasons that prospective homeowners look for solar panels when they are shopping around for a place to live. Some are Eco-conscious, but the vast majority realize that the cost of heating, cooling, and powering a house is a massive investment. Being able to minimize or even eliminate these bills will allow for major savings down the line.

After all, the duration of a set of home solar panels can be as much as twenty five years with only about ten percent loss in efficiency, provided they are kept clean and there are no changes to the cloud cover overhead. As such, even a reduction of one hundred dollars per month in utilities would amount to $30,000 over the course of twenty-five years — much more than the cost of purchasing and installing these panels. None of that investment goes to waste once the house is on the market, since new owners will want the same savings as prior owners enjoyed from the features and are willing to pay more for it.

About The Author: Mauro Small writes forGo Green Academy, an information website on topics related to energy efficiency, climate change and sustainability.