As suggested in our Yardley Voice column this month, the onset of spring is a natural time to start researching and planning choices to improve a home and its gardens. A rooftop solar energy system should be another considered option because it gives the best opportunity to save money in the long run. Those savings translate to a new owner, and so homes generating solar power are increasingly valued by budget conscious buyers.
Important factors like falling costs and more favorable and affordable financing have helped more homeowners justify going solar. They were big contributors to the surge in solar installations in 2016 and earlier. It is also one reason leasing has become somewhat less preferable, and more homeowners are purchasing systems. As more homes adopt rooftop solar, it increases public awareness. That stimulates more owners to investigate it and home buyers to seek it. Other home improvement trends evolve this way too. So it is only natural to look more deeply into rooftop solar like other improvement projects. How does it compare to more common homeowner spending habits?
By some reckoning, the home improvement industry exceeds $600 billion a year, depending on what is included in the study. Of that, over half is spent on elective choices and not simply required upkeep and maintenance. So, naturally analysts have studied where the money is spent as well as the value derived from the purchases. One very detailed study was sponsored by “Remodeling”, a trade publication. Here are some key highlights isolated for the Philadelphia area from data collected about midrange priced homes:
Elective: People spent an average of $67,800 on major kitchen remodeling. This includes updated and energy efficient appliances. The study predicts about 55% of those costs may be returned at sale (or about $37,300).
Needed Maintenance: An average of $23,500 was spent on roofing replacement. It was estimated that about 62% of that expense may be returned at sale (or about $14,700).
Looking at the summary of the Berkeley Labs study about solar homes referenced in the Yardley Voice article, the study authors claim that a $10,000 purchase premium was the minimum anticipated by the study. Picking the midrange home sample in Pennsylvania, the $17,000 ($290,000 – $273,000) premium could be set as an upper limit.
Using the average net cost of an installed 5kW to 8kW solar energy system in the Philadelphia area, competing with the 55% to 62% return on investment for the other elective or needed improvements is easy. And every year the owner enjoys lowered power bills, the higher that percentage return grows.
One thing is generally clear: Home improvements and investments that also reduce living costs get the attention of most buyers. Upgrades that result in small but measurable savings have been attracting attention for over a decade. Projects or other simple maintenance routines that also improve comfort get the most attention. A popular example is the addition of insulation to reduce heating and cooling loads. Modern and properly designed air conditioning and heating units are also desired because they reduce winter and summer seasonal costs. Some buyers are attracted to energy efficient appliances, because often they are easier to use or more effective when in use. Other simple maintenance routines that preserve structural integrity and ensure air and water sealing always impress home shoppers.
Digging deeper into comparative home improvement values proves that a rooftop solar energy system provides a special opportunity to save more money while increasing your home’s value. The history of other improvements shows buyers do reward upgrades. A solar energy system is regularly as good an investment as other elective or mandatory home improvement.
Want to know more? Click on the button to the right to download our more detailed mini-white paper on this topic.