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Solar panels: adding value to homes

8th Aug 2011

Two recent studies in the US have shown that solar power systems can increase the market value of a home.

The first comes from the University of California and focused on a number of homes in the San Diego region.

Researchers monitored the sales prices of homes with solar panel systems already installed on rooftops.

They then compared it to the prices of homes without solar panels and the results were positive for those looking to invest in clean energy technology.

As stated in the report: "Our evidence suggests that similar to other home investments such as a new kitchen, solar installation bundles both investment value and consumption value."

Researchers estimate that solar panels alone can add up to 3.3 per cent to the sales price of a house.

The figure has been adjusted to account for neighbourhood price trends and other factors, meaning that homebuyers are prepared to pay more for homes that reduce their carbon footprint.

A second study from Berkley National Laboratory's Environmental Energy Technologies Division looked at 72,000 property sales in the California housing market from 2000 through to 2009.

According to this study, the houses that benefited the most were those that were pre-existing, rather than new homes.

As more and more properties begin installing solar panel systems in the home, photovoltaic technology could become a deal-breaker for property buyers.

The benefits of installing a solar panel system fall into two main categories.

Firstly the environmental impact of the household is reduced.

By harnessing the sun's energy, the average household can take drastic steps towards becoming less reliant on coal-fire power.

Traditionally, electricity has come from processes that are responsible for a large proportion of greenhouse gas emissions.

Solar power systems will prove instrumental in the adoption of clean energy technologies that reduce our carbon footprint.

The other major factor is the financial benefits.

Aside from adding value to a home when the owners are looking to sell, solar panels can provide additional financial boosts to households throughout their lifespan.

Feed-in tariffs allow households to generate electricity that is channelled back into the grid.

Electricity utilities companies can then buy the power back, resulting in savings on the average home energy bill.

In some cases, a solar panel system can result in producing more energy than the occupants use, meaning the cost derived is a profit and not simply a discount.

By: Mike Peacock - Solar Correspondent

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