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Solar Panels: More Accessible, Less Costly

Solar Panels: More Accessible, Less Costly

If you considered solar panels for your house but were deterred by the cost, it’s time to take a second look. Solar costs have dropped significantly and in some cases, there’s no upfront cost. A Federal tax credit of up to 26%, good through December 31, 2020, just sweetens the deal. Plus, solar panels could help you sell your house faster and for more money.

Here are four things to know about residential solar:

1. Solar Panel Price Drop

Many considered solar panels out of their league because of cost, but prices declined 29 percent between fourth quarter of 2018 and the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Costs still vary, depending on factors like roof size and how much electricity you use. So shop around for multiple quotes from a solar company with specifics on your house. You can also estimate ballpark on solar costs, savings, and payback using a solar installation calculator. The most popular sites are EnergySage® and PVWatts®.

2. Solar Leases & Farms

Solar leases can give you the benefits of solar without a big cash outlay. Monthly payments on the lease make this a lower-cost option. Review the entire lease and be sure you fully understand the terms before signing anything. When you sell, the lease can be transferred to the new homeowner; however, Fannie Mae states that leased solar panels cannot be included in a home valuation because they’re considered personal property.

Solar farms are another a way for residents of a community to tap into the shared benefits of a solar array without installing panels on their own homes. It’s becoming more common. The Community Solar Hub says 26 states now have community solar projects.

3. Solar Myth Busters

Solar misinformation and myths abound. Here are the most two common rumors among them:

Myth #1: “Solar is too complex and unreliable.”

Truth: Solar panels are reliable and technology advances are making them better every year. Nothing changes about how things inside the house work. You’re just generating power on site, instead of paying the electrical company to run power through your house.

Myth #2: “My city is too cold or cloudy for solar panels.”

Truth: You don’t need blazing sunshine every day. Solar panels still work in areas where it’s cold, snowy, foggy, and cloudy. Check out if your home is a good candidate for solar with Google’s Project Sunroof.

4. Solar Resale Value

In 2019, National Renewable Energy Labs found that homes with solar panels on average sold 20% faster than other homes and for 17% more than non-solar homes. Solar panels also increase a property’s perceived value, said 62% of brokers and agents surveyed in the 2019 Sustainability Report by the National Association of REALTORS®.

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