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According to real estate website Zillow, homes with solar energy capabilities sold for more than similar homes without. This data, collected by an organization without a bias toward or against residential solar energy systems, shows that converting your home to solar actually increases your home’s value, rather than hindering it. In fact, during the past year, homes with solar-energy systems sold for 4.1% more on average than comparable homes without solar power. For the median-valued home, that translates to an additional $9,274. The sale premium varies substantially by market. In Riverside, Calif., for example, homes with solar-energy systems sold for 2.7% more than comparable homes without solar power—a markup of $9,926 for the median-valued home in the metro. In the greater New York City metro, solar-powered homes have a premium that is double that of Riverside. At 5.4%, that’s an extra $23,989 in value for the typical home in New York. In three other coastal metro areas—Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orlando, Fla.—homes with solar power can fetch a premium of around 4%.

Solar Home Values

One reason houses with solar-energy systems sell for more than those without them is because they can provide substantial future energy cost savings. For homeowners who know they consume a lot of power, these future savings are worth spending a bit more money up front. It is also possible that homes with solar-energy systems are more likely to have other features that are hard to measure yet valuable, like heated floors, which could contribute to the premium associated with solar power. Personal preferences play a role, too: More than 80% of home buyers say energy-efficient features are important, according to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report.

In an effort to include more information about solar energy in their online real estate database, Zillow is helping inform homeowners and buyers about their own solar potential by putting a “Sun Number” on more than 84 million homes nationwide. The Sun Number measures the roof of each home and calculates the pitch, orientation and size of each roof plane. It determines the amount of sun that hits every square meter of the home’s roof, taking into account factors such as trees or taller buildings that could block sunlight. Finally, it adds local factors such as the cost of electricity and solar and the local weather conditions. The end result is a number between zero and 100; the higher the score, the more suitable for solar that house is.

Though certain markets’ solar energy potential seems obvious – e.g., good in Phoenix and not as good in Seattle – the Sun Number shows far more nuance, says Zillow. Zillow analyzed more than 500 metro areas, and although the top 10 are largely communities in the Southwest (such as San Antonio, Austin and Dallas), there are some surprises: San Jose, Calif., (90) tied with Phoenix and Yuma, Ariz., for eighth. San Francisco checks in well ahead of sunny San Diego and Tampa, Fla., at a more than respectable 87, especially given its reputation for fog. Nationally, the median Sun Number is 78.

“Energy conservation isn’t only good for the environment – it can also translate into big savings on electricity bills, as well as help to reduce the strain on the electrical grid,” says Zillow’s senior economist, Sarah Mikhitarian. “The Sun Number provides a starting point for potential energy savings, but speaking with a local expert can help homeowners decide whether it pencils out. Homes with solar energy systems often sell for more than comparable homes without solar power. This premium is largely reflective of the future energy cost-savings associated with system.”

If you’re interested in converting your home to solar power, contact the solar experts at IES Solar. We would love to offer you a free in-home energy audit and estimate to see how much you could save by switching, and we’ll help break down all of the available solar incentives and rebates for your area. Contact our team today to get started!

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