Increase the value of your home with solar panels

According to a new study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, homeowners and buyers are willing to pay more for houses that have solar panels. Comparable houses that do not have these panels installed often sell for much less, the report asserts. But there is an important point in the information- homeowners are really only interested in new or recent solar panels, also known as photovoltaic (PV) models, and tend to stay away from houses that have older models. The reason for this is simple, as older panels are less effective at powering a house. The older a panel is, the less the house will sell for on the market.

The study, "Exploring California PV Home Premiums," looked at the sales for almost 2,000 solar-equipped homes and over 70,000 non-solar but comparably-sized homes that were sold in the state of California from 2000 to 2009. Its goal was to expand the data released by the lab in 2011 that made note of the state's solar premiums, but did not explore the information with the same depth. The authors note that, for every kilowatt that a solar panel can produce, the value of a home rises by $5,900. Most residential systems can generate anywhere from 2 to 5 kilowatts, substantially increasing a house's worth.

For every year that a solar panel has been attached to a home, the value falls by 9 percent. The reason for this consistent dropping is all about how the potential home buyer views the technology.

"They might be perceived as older technology, even if they're still producing electricity at the expected rate," Ben Hoen, the study's lead author, told SFGate.

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