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Guest Post: Do solar panels increase the value of your home?

May 4, 2023

Sustainability and building compliance expert. Specialising in low energy design, SAP, SBEM, BREEAM, and air testing for the construction industry,

Andrew Sadler

In the latest of our guest post series, we heard from renewable energy expert, Robert Cathcart, of SOLAR FAST about how (and why) solar panels can increase the value of your home.

Can a Solar Energy System Improve the Value of Your Home? This question can be asked about any kind of home improvement and must be considered before spending money on any big projects. We can assume that extensions and new kitchens will add value to your home (and, in most cases, they do) but so can solar panels.

In this blog, we will explain how.

Research into the value of homes with solar installations. 

Renewable Energy Magazine published a recent study in which it stated that going solar could increase the price of your home by up to 14%! That is a great ROI and equals the kind of numbers you’d be looking at with a new extension or garden room, the difference being that a solar energy system will be reducing your bills by up to 70% and you could even earn money if you sign up to an SEG – but, more on that later.

It’s not just the UK, though. 

Another in-depth study, this time in the US by Estate Agents Zillow, found that homes with solar panels sold for an average of 4.1% more than similar sized houses without solar panels. It’s a little lower than the UK and it’s only based on averages, but it is still a decent ROI and definite improvement on the selling price.

Figures vary massively from area to area, install to install and home to home, but there is no doubt that solar is considered an improvement to any home and will affect the value in a positive way. 

It’s not just the home improvement that makes you money though:

Cheaper bills:

Whether you are a fan of solar energy or not, there is no denying that if you are using electricity generated by solar you are not paying 34p a unit from the utility company. 

Global Energy Crisis:

Homes with their own energy systems are looking like a pretty good bet these days, with the difficulties of cross border energy provision and diminishing levels of fossil fuels still able to be mined. Fossil fuels are finite and will run out – but, before that, prices are going to get a lot higher.

Future Proofing:

Economic research is one of the first things a potential house buyer will engage in. Offering a home with a solar energy system helps that buyer make budgeting decisions. 

Environmental Impact:

Despite the best efforts of the more closed-minded influencers, global warming and environmental issues are becoming increasingly important to the public. In fact, 74% of UK adults have stated that they are concerned with climate change. So, saving around 1.6 tonnes of CO2 per year is a big plus point when buying a house!
Earning Opportunities: 

While we can no longer benefit from the badly thought out FIT scheme, we can still sell energy back to energy companies using the Smart Export Guarantee.

Is this all PR or is it true? 

Let’s take a look at some more research:

‘Government studies show improving the Energy Performance Certificate rating means homeowners can add as much as 14% to the value of homes. Renewable energy sources, such as solar, are one of the ways to improve EPC to power homes.’

EPCs, or Energy Performance Certificates, are now a legal requirement in the UK if you are looking to sell your house. You have to make sure a house complies to basic standards – the better the EDF rating, the more your house is worth.

Looking at properties with solar panels over a 12-year period, a California study found that the average increase in house value was 3.5% while a New York City based study found that a more urban, cosmopolitan area would yield an increase in a property’s price by as much as 5.4%.

Is my home suitable for solar? 

Most homes are suitable for solar panels.

Your roof should ideally face south but it is not essential, roofs can also pick up the sunlight they need when they face east or west but you will need a few more panels. Roof angles are also important but can be anywhere between 30 and 45 degrees. If you have a flat roof, or a roof outside the recommended angles, panels can always be angled using specially designed brackets.

Will adding storage help increase your house price?

Energy prices in the UK are currently capped at £0.34 per kWh, and energy companies are obliged to offer you the chance to sell your energy back to them, though the prices are not great. Companies are offering as little as 1p per kWh with even the most generous SEG schemes only going as high as 15p. So, it makes a lot of sense to use all the energy you produce, for that, you are going to need battery storage.

Solar batteries don’t come cheap, but they are usually guaranteed for at least 10 years, so it’s a solid investment and will soon pay for itself. 

How is solar energy going to save me money?

Solar energy will help you by saving money on your electricity bill for a start! This will happen even if you don’t have a battery. As we have already mentioned, the power from Solar PV Panels is generated during hours of daylight, come rain or shine. 

While that is happening you won’t be buying a unit at 34p, there’s your savings right there.

Let’s take a look at some numbers. Working on household averages and based on a 4-bedroom house in Manchester with gas heating and a hot water tank that is heated using a PV diverter to utilise surplus PV generation:

When you feed into an SEG, or Smart Export Guarantee, selling electricity back to your energy supplier, you’ll save even more, especially when you are out of your house and using the least amount of electricity. 

Are solar panels ugly?

There’s mixed opinion on the aesthetic of solar panels; this is a matter of taste and opinions fill the spectrum on this issue. For us, panels on roofs look like the future – clean, sustainable and modern. Designs change all the time, and the current crop of Half Cell Monocrystalline panels can be all black, shiny, cool looking additions to the top of your house.

Studies have revealed that opinions on the aesthetics of a solar system are very much dependent on age. People over the age of 35 tend to be sceptical of any kind of renewable energy and they want their homes to look like they did when they bought them. Whereas younger people do not think panels are any different than having tiles on the roof and are much more interested in creating a sustainable future – while saving money in their energy bill.

Some people even think they look great and prefer a home with panels mounted on the roof to one without.

Will maintenance costs of a solar system affect my house price?

The maintenance costs of a solar system will not affect your house price. 

Truth is, solar panels have no moving parts, they are not subject to being handled or moved, and they are made from very robust materials – steel, toughened glass, copper, silicon. Which boils down to low or no maintenance at all. Just keep them clean, try to discourage animals nesting in them and don’t throw things on your roof. 

Panels do degrade though, at a rate of 0.05% a year, so you’ll be looking at replacing them sometime in the next 40 years. Not much in your home as a shelf life of 40 years and, as most panels come with a 25-year performance warranty, any potential house buyer isn’t going to have to think about replacements for a very long time.

A huge thank you to Robert for taking the time to write this incredibly informative piece for us. To find out more about whether solar panels are the right choice for your home, book in a free consultation call with the Buildpass team. We’d love to chat.

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