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The cost of solar panels has fallen by 50% in the past four years, while electricity costs have risen considerably in California. Before you purchase solar panels or enroll in a solar lease program, here are a few things to consider.

1. How much will going solar save me on my monthly electricity bill?

Solar lease programs advertise a monthly savings of 15% off your current monthly electricity rate. This rate is locked in for the length of the lease and will not rise with inflation. On the other hand, purchasing a solar system outright (costing an average of $15,000-$30,000) may take years to pay off.

2. Will installing solar panels add to my home’s value?

Yes, going solar may add to your home’s value. Nine out of ten homebuyers prefer to purchase an energy-efficient home even if the purchase price is two-to-three percent higher than a similar non-energy-efficient home, according to the National Association of Home Builders. However, a two-to-three percent price increase is not worth the $15,000-$30,000 investment in most cases. So is a zero-money down solar lease the solution? Maybe. But there are complications to consider with solar leases, as well.

3. Will a solar lease derail the sale of my home?

There have been cases of solar lease contracts putting a home sale on hold or even cancelling a sale. To avoid these complications:

  • ask the solar leasing company about the requirements for transferring a solar lease to a homebuyer before you sign a contract;
  • do the math to figure out if the monthly savings are worth the potential complications with the eventual sale; and
  • if you decide to go with a solar lease, disclose the solar lease to all potential homebuyers upfront to make sure it doesn’t become an issue before closing.

Contact me if you’re thinking about selling.  I’ll give you a free estimate of your home’s value — with or without the solar panels!