It’s long been an argument used against renewable energy that installing wind or solar power has negative effects on house prices. But now a new study from the US has shown that installing residential solar power actually increases the value of your home.
The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory looked at some 72,000 homes in California, around 2,000 of which had photovoltaic (PV) solar power systems installed.
Solar homes sell for $17,000 more
It found that homes with PV systems sold for more than similar homes without. In fact, a home with a fairly new average-sized 3.10kWp (kilowatt) solar power set-up sold for almost $17,000 (£10,300) more than a conventionally powered one. Existing homes that added solar power went up in value more than those built with PV already installed.
Price bonus offsets solar power installation costs
As well as putting paid to the myth that installing green energy is likely to decrease the value of your property, it was found that the house price bonus is similar to the initial outlay it costs to install solar power.
Opponents of solar power have often pointed out that it can take years for the savings made through producing your own green energy to pay back the initial investment. The new evidence shows that this may no longer be such a big issue.
Solar power on the increase in the States
Around 90,000 homes in California currently use PV power. The market for home solar energy has been expanding at more than 50% annually in the US for the last five years.
In keeping with California’s liberal (and sunny) image, almost half of the US’s total PV systems have been installed in the state. However, only about 0.1% of all US homes have PV systems, while all forms of renewable energy account for around 8% of the country’s total energy production.
UK weather good enough for homes to go solar
Although the UK clearly isn’t as sunny as much of California, solar power is still a viable renewable energy option as photovoltaic cells don’t need direct sunlight to work. In fact they still work on cloudy days as long as you have a suitable roof or wall within 90 degrees of south. Planning permission is also not normally needed as long as the solar power system isn’t too big.
A typical residential PV system can save about a tonne of CO2 emissions a year and produce around 40-50% of household energy. If you do produce excess energy, you can even sell it back to the National Grid with the Feed In Tariff scheme.
Home solar power systems are likely to cost around £4-5,000 per kWp installed, with an average set up coming in at about £12,000.