Natural wood elements. Fiber board siding. Outdoor kitchens. How can we tell the difference between short-lived décor trends and sound property investments?
It can be difficult to pull the trigger on big-ticket home projects, especially if they involve somewhat newer technologies. But, if last year is any indication, solar panels, batteries and electric vehicle (EV) charging stations aren’t just the next “it” things in residential construction. They’re economical, and environmentally friendly, options for increasing our property values.
In 2020, California became the first state in the U.S. to require rooftop solar panels on new construction homes in a historic milestone for the renewable energy industry. But it’s not alone in advancing these types of policies in the real estate sector. According to a Solar Energy Industries Association report, there was an 11 percent increase in residential solar deployment in 2019. Thanks to Congress’s extension of the 26 percent federal solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in December, this growth has continued into 2021 with a 17 percent increase in the first quarter alone.
Over the past several years, Arkansas has witnessed the significant uptick in residential solar projects firsthand. However, nothing can compare to the surge of consumer interest we saw after February’s harsh snowstorms. Following dire energy conservation warnings from utilities, many homeowners scrambled to cut ties with the electric grid, lock in their energy costs and invest in solar.
Now, other Arkansas residents are asking “Should we follow suit?” And, perhaps more importantly, they’re wondering, “Is the cost of a solar-powered system worth the reward?” Yes, and here are just three reasons why:
Homebuyers are increasingly citing the importance of energy-efficiency features in potential properties. In fact, Zillow reports homes with solar panels and batteries now sell for 4.1 percent more on average than those without.
Research from the U.S. Department of Energy indicates “solar panels are [now] viewed as upgrades, just like a renovated kitchen or finished basement.” Data shows buyers are willing to pay $15,000 more for a home with an average-sized array.
With federal tax incentives, such as the ITC, and long-term utility bill savings, it’s become easier than ever to recoup the cost of installing a residential solar-powered system when selling a property.
Solar should no longer be considered an out-of-reach item on our building or renovation wish lists. Instead, it should be seen as a smart way to power our property values.
The author, Greg Bradley, is residential sales manager for Seal Solar, one of Arkansas’s leading solar businesses that provides turnkey solutions to homeowners, businesses, government entities and farmers across the state.