Solar power has seen a dramatic evolution in a short amount of time. It’s been around for decades with limited use, but solar is now in the hands of everyone from homeowners to campers to NFL stadiums. Solar has a reputation as a long-term investment — and it’s true that your savings will build over the years. But could solar still be worth it if you’re already planning a move in just a few years?
The short-term answer to this important question is yes. It’s always worth it to make the turn to solar energy. Not only do some of the cost savings begin immediately, but it may be easier to sell your home with this critical upgrade. Take a look at our overview of installing solar as a short-term solution to energy and financial needs. Hint: you can get more out of a solar installation than just energy efficiency.
Short-Term Benefits of Solar Installation
The long-term incentives of putting up solar are clear: in California, you can save more than $20,000 in energy costs over the course of 20 years. Moving soon means you can’t capitalize on these decades-long projected savings, of course. But that doesn’t mean there is nothing in it for you. Installing solar panels on your home can still lead to:
- A significant jump in the value of your home. Even if you move within a year, you’re still likely to recoup the costs of installing the panels (plus a little more). A new owner who recognizes the potential savings of going solar will pay a premium to buy a property that offers them life without an electrical bill — and no hassle of handling the installation themselves.
- Immediate energy savings. You won’t see the full return of solar savings if you move soon after going solar, but you will eliminate most energy costs for the duration of your time in the home. That’s still worth something. If you can sell some of your energy back to the grid, you’ll see even more immediate benefits.
- Tax credits. You can deduct up to 30% of the cost of solar installation from your federal tax returns, and there isn’t a dollar amount cap. As long as you’re still living in the property when you file next year’s tax returns, you’ll enjoy the tax savings regardless of how long you stay in the home after that.
Maximizing the Value of Solar Panels
All solar power systems help the environment and can increase the value of your property. Still, there are ways to increase the benefits of installing PV panels on your roof. As it turns out, not all solar panel installations are created equally! It’s particularly important to maximize the value of a solar installation when you know you’ll be putting your home on the market sooner than later. Here are some ways to make sure you get the most out of your switch to solar, even if you’re hitting the road in a year or two:
- Use a professional installation. An installer with a good reputation will make sure you have enough watts to power the property and leave the roof better than they found it. Hire the cheapest bid without asking around, and you could be doing yourself a disservice. Vet the company doing your installation as carefully as you would someone doing a total plumbing renovation. Keep your receipts to show the buyers the date of installation and prove the quality of workmanship you chose.
- Don’t go crazy on wattage. In a study done by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2015, researchers found that any solar power increases the value of the home. They discovered that a larger system won’t necessarily increase your returns. In fact, if the property value increase is the same regardless of the number of solar panels, you’ll get less back per watt by installing extra panels.
- Create an environment for solar power to thrive. Cut back tall trees that shade your roof and position solar panels to absorb as many of the sun’s rays as possible. Your solar system will be more appealing to a future buyer and serve the property better if you eliminate obstacles to the sun. Most homes are a candidate for solar, but you can maximize the returns by placing the panels strategically.
Marketing Your Home with Solar Panels
You’re pretty jazzed about the new solar panels on your home, but getting everyone else to feel the same way may take a careful strategy. If solar is newly popular in your area, some buyers may be skeptical.
The good news is that there is plenty of science and real cost savings to back up the benefits of trading grid electricity for PV panels. You can convert potential buyers into champions of the solar movement, so don’t be afraid to get solar panels just because you plan to sell your home in a few years. Consider this when you’re ready to move and begin marketing your home with solar panels:
- Solar panels are contagious. Some of the country’s biggest solar lease installers say that a full third of their customers are referred by friends and neighbors. The fact is that one house installing solar panels increases the chances that the neighbors will, too. If you move soon after installing solar and you’re one of the first on the block to have it, you can market your property the most energy-efficiency property in the neighborhood. If everyone else has already begun installing solar, putting up panels keeps your home competitive in the real estate market.
- Middle-class homes are turning to solar more than ever. Solar panels aren’t just for expensive homes anymore. People with middle-class incomes are adopting solar energy in large numbers across the country. Market your home with solar to all potential buyers, not just those who have traditionally invested in new, progressive, expensive home additions.
- The right highlights may depend on where you live. Remember to customize your marketing plan to the environment where you live. In more progressive areas, the focus on environmental benefits may strike a cord, while other communities will see a higher benefit in being independent of reliance on city electricity grids. No matter where you live, eliminating a utility bill is a pretty appealing benefit.
Benefits to the Community
Even if you’re moving soon, you will still leave behind something good for your community by installing solar now. Aside from the personal benefits, your family will reap from increasing the property value, you can feel good about beginning a solar trend in your area. Here are just some of the ways turning a property into a solar-powered home are good for the neighborhood long after you’ve settled in somewhere else:
- Solar makes a home energy independent. The property will be able to self-sustain, storing excess energy in batteries to draw upon for a literal cloudy day. Not only does being self-sustaining mean that worrying about utility blackouts is a thing of the past, but the home will not put a strain on the local grid.
- You can sell power back to the grid. A property with solar panels can often sell energy back to the city grid for use by other properties. The process depends on your local government (in some places the practice not allowed at all), but you can help the community avoid blackouts by providing the energy you collected and don’t need. Plus, you — and future owners — will get paid for the energy.
- You’re leaving less of a footprint on the environment. By going energy independent and using a renewable source, you’re reducing the carbon footprint of your property. If you want to encourage your community to think about clean energy, starting a local trend of installing PV panels is a great way to make a serious difference. Solar is even good for public health.
Are you ready to make the leap to solar? Even if you’re moving soon, the investment is still worth it. You’ll see an immediate return in the reduction of energy costs and you may even earn some extra cash by selling energy to the city. Plus, the increase in your home’s value is no joke.
If you want to know more about how to get a solar installation, make an appointment with Semper Solaris now. We’ll go over all your options and give you a no-pressure bid for your PV panels!