New study shows solar photovoltaic (PV) systems increase home value

July 20, 2015

Homes with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems have proliferated in the United States recently, reaching more than half a million in 2014, in part due to plummeting PV costs and innovative financing options. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that achieving its SunShot PV price-reduction targets could result in 108 gigawatts of residential rooftop PV installed by 2050—equivalent to 30 million U.S. PV homes. As PV systems become an increasingly common feature of U.S. homes, the ability to value these homes appropriately will become increasingly important.

At the same time, capturing the value of PV to homes will be important for facilitating a robust residential PV market. Appraisers, real estate agents, and other property valuers have made strides toward valuing PV homes, and several limited studies have suggested the presence of PV home premiums, but gaps remain in understanding these premiums for housing markets nationwide. To help fill these gaps, researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and their collaborators from other institutions conducted the most comprehensive PV home premium analysis to date. The study, “Selling into the Sun: Price Premium Analysis of a Multi-State Dataset of Solar Homes,” more than doubles the number of PV home sales previously analyzed, examines transactions in eight states, and spans the years 2002–2013. The results impart confidence that PV consistently adds value across a variety of states, housing and PV markets, and home types.