Solar home sales (Geoff Klise)_webA Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) -led multi-institutional research team, with Sandia (Geoffrey Klise, in Sandia’s Earth Systems Analysis Dept., contributing the Sandia-developed PV Value whole-system appraisal tool, among other things), universities, and appraisers found that home buyers have consistently been willing to pay more for homes with solar PV energy systems—averaging ~$4/watt of PV installed—across various states, housing and PV markets, and home types—~$15,000 for a typical PV system.

“Previous studies on PV home premiums have been limited in size and scope,” says LBNL’s Ben Hoen, the lead author of the report. “We more than doubled the number of PV home sales analyzed, examined a number of states outside of California, and captured the market during the recent housing boom, bust, and recovery.”

The team analyzed almost 22,000 home sales, almost 4,000 of which contained PV systems in eight states from 1999 to 2013—producing the most authoritative estimates to date of price premiums for US homes with PV systems.

The study also found only a small, nonstatistically significant difference between PV premiums for new and existing homes. Additional findings include the existence of a PV “green cache” (home buyers paying a certain amount for a PV system of any size and incrementally more as system size increases) and an apparent sharp depreciation rate for the PV premium in home sales transactions as those PV systems age. Furthermore, the study found that market premiums are statistically similar to those estimated using the income and cost approaches, methods familiar to appraisers. This similarity to standard appraisal practices further bolsters the report’s usefulness to real estate professionals and markets.

Read the LBNL news release.