Solar Power For Residential Use Is Really Going All Out in Arizona
Going Green is a good thing for all of us and alternative power sources are starting to pick up some wind. Many individuals are investing in solar power for their homes; though they are not always area of the consequences of these decisions. As a Chandler Realtor I wish to keep my buyers and sellers informed of all issues that may affect the marketability of their homes and solar power, as it is evolving may not be the best decision. Here is one website for one of the larger solar power companies in Arizona click here.
There Are Some Consequences to Solar Power That You Should Consider
In the early days solar power usually meant that you have a couple of panels on your roof and you could then heat your water heater for free, thus saving a few bucks on your electric bill. With this set up the payback was often 10 to 12 years depending on the investment and cost. Some of the drawbacks to this were the unsightly panels on the roof, the unexpected maintenance that could possibly wipe out all savings; and the possibility of deterring someone from buying your home who didn’t want those panels on the roof. But most people that went this route were often motivated by the larger environmental issues and these relatively minor consequences were dismissed.
Today’s solar power is a bit more involved than the two solar panels that a home owner could purchase at the Home Depot. Often the entire back side of the house will be covered with solar panels, I saw one home where every square foot of the roof was solar panels. The company that installs these will then generate enough electricity to supplement your power consumption. In essences your home becomes a mini-power station whereby the solar company sells this energy back to the electric company, takes their share of the monies made from the sale and gives you a credit on your power bill to effectively lower your energy bill from SRP or APS. At this level there are more considerations that come into play:
1. The cost of maintenance of these solar panels and transformers could be an issue in the short-run and most definitely long run. Nothing attached to a roof in Arizona lasts more than 30 years. Even the concrete or clay tiled roofs can only take some much abuse from the Arizona sun much less black solar panels and plastic piping. Many companies offer 30 year maintenance plans but make sure that you read all of the fine print. Secondly what happens if you develop a roof leak under the panels? What if your tiles or shingles need to be replaced? A shingled roof might last 12 years in Arizona and when the roof needs to be replaced the cost of removing and re installing the solar panels will be in the thousands.
2. The contract that you enter with the solar company can be a real issue when it comes time to sell your home. If you don’t negotiate some sort of “Blow out clause” you could be liable for thousands of dollars upon the sale of your home if the buyer doesn’t wish to assume the contract. I would recommend that you negotiate your contract with the solar company with this in mind as well as the years you expect to reside in the home. If you are forced to move for employment transfers, economic issues or any other reason, you could be bound to this contract if you don’t negotiate an acceptable “Buy out” or “Escape clause”.
3. The marketability of your property will be affected by the solar panels on your roof. Whether this is positive or negative can be argued; but one this for sure is that solar panels will narrow the buyers for your home. Some will see this as a cosmetic issue, others will see this as deferred maintenance, and again we have the issue of assuming the contract. In order for the economics of solar power to work for these agreements, your home will need to generate a great deal of power. Estimates are that you can reduce your electric cost by close to 50% but in order to achieve this you will need several solar panels and this will narrow the buyers who wish to purchase your home; not only for cosmetic reasons but also the issues on the roof if the system needs to be removed. If you have to remove the service in order to sell your home the cost of removing this could amount to thousands of dollars and this is not even considering the cost of breaking the contract. I haven’t seen any analyses on the impact of home values or market time yet but as time goes on these are going to come about. In the meantime we can usually estimate by doing a comparative analysis in the MLS of homes that have sold which had the solar panels – let me know if you need this information.
4. Cost savings: Not only are the cost savings hard to pin down but what happens if the electric companies reduce the price by which they purchase your energy? This will result in reduced cost savings to you and might send the “payback” period out many years beyond your ownership. There are many variables involved in solar power at this point in time and the more you can negotiate the fewer surprised you will have down the road.
Solar power is great, it is good for the environment and your pocketbook. But there are many factors that you really need to consider before you sign on the dotted line. Everyone want to be environmentally conscious and save a few bucks at the same time. Just make sure that you count the cost of the energy as well as the cost of reselling your home in the future. Please feel free to contact me with any questions that you might have about the affects of solar panels on your home value and any other issues that will affect the value and marketability of your home. Give me a call and maybe I can help you do the math to see if solar power is the route to go at this point in time! Looking for an experienced Chandler Realtor? Read my credentials, Looking for a market analysis on your home? Go to the home page and do your own market analysis without having to register your information.