How to Sell a Property Equipped With Solar Panels

Transferring Solar Panels to a New Owner

A study by Zillow Economic Research comparing similar homes has shown that homes with solar energy installations tend to sell for an average of 4.1% more than those without. The growing demand for solar systems and the strengthening trust among homeowners in solar technology is a positive trend to be supported wholeheartedly. The process of securing solar warranty coverage has become streamlined, casting a positive light on the enthusiasm for solar power across the board.

For those engaged in either purchasing or selling a home equipped with an existing solar power setup, certain crucial information and advantages should be considered that are beneficial to all involved parties. It is essential for both buyers and sellers to ascertain the ownership status of the panels, identify the manufacturer and their operational status, and understand the specifics of the warranty. In terms of transferring ownership, it is important to determine if the panels are fully paid for, if the system is on a finance plan, and the nature of any associated loans. Additionally, an evaluation of the solar energy production data and the potential investment in battery storage could be advantageous.

The array of benefits from investing in solar panels is extensive, encompassing economic gains, health improvements, enhanced quality of life, safety, resilience in emergencies, and environmental protection. Access to a comprehensive guide can bring clarity to the process of buying or selling homes with solar installations, allowing for an informed assessment of the potential risks and benefits involved.

This guide is to assist both sellers and buyers in the process of trading homes with solar panels, including what inquiries to make regarding the transfer of solar warranties and how to safeguard your solar investments.

Understanding the Transfer of Solar Panel Ownership

Navigating the ownership transition of solar panels during a real estate transaction can be straightforward, particularly when the solar panels are fully owned. Ownership without encumbrances paves the way for a hassle-free handover.

In the scenario where a home comes with a leased solar energy system, the panels are typically owned by a third-party. For sellers, the goal is to transfer the lease agreement to the new homeowner. Highlighting the advantages you’ve enjoyed from the solar installation can boost the buyer’s confidence in assuming the lease. It’s important to communicate that the third-party owner is usually responsible for maintenance issues, saving the new homeowner from unexpected repair costs. Only regular cleaning and upkeep would be their responsibility, which could be an appealing feature for some buyers.

Here’s a snapshot of the standard process:

  • The homebuyer completes a transfer of ownership form.
  • They submit a credit application to the solar company.
  • Upon credit approval, the lease is transferred, and the new homeowner agrees to take over the existing payment schedule.
  • The seller and buyer finalize the transfer of ownership; the new homeowner sets up the new Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments.
  • Approval for interconnection must be secured from the utility company.
  • If the system is attached to a secured loan, this loan must be paid off. With an unsecured loan, the seller can transfer the property, but remains liable for the loan’s remainder.

Incorporating this guide into your property transaction toolkit can be invaluable. Print it out, save a digital copy, and distribute it to relevant parties to ensure these critical questions are asked and understood.

Key Questions for Solar Home Buyers:

  1. Is the solar energy system under lease or is it owned outright?
  2. Which company manufactured the solar panels?
  3. Who was responsible for installing the system?
  4. What are the terms of the warranty, and is additional coverage an option?
  5. What is the capacity of the solar energy system?
  6. Does the utility offer net metering options for solar energy return?

Advantages of Selling a Home Equipped with Solar Panels

The allure of solar energy can vary greatly among individuals, with an array of incentives driving their interest. When the moment arrives to put your property on the market, the primary goal is to maximize its value. Solar installations can be a significant boost in this regard. According to a study by Berkeley Lab, homes with solar power systems can fetch an additional $15,000 on average.

Installing a solar system not only potentially enhances the value of your property but can also expedite the sale process by up to 20%. This acceleration benefits a spectrum of stakeholders, including appraisers, real estate professionals, mortgage brokers, sellers, buyers, and the environment. With escalating fossil fuel costs, the potential for reduced or eliminated electricity expenses is a strong selling point.

As the home seller, you can highlight to prospective buyers the financial benefits you’ve enjoyed, thanks to your solar investment. Moreover, the appeal of a smaller carbon footprint can resonate with environmentally conscious buyers. This places sellers in a favorable position to command higher prices and possibly recoup the full investment made into the solar setup.

Perks of Purchasing a Home with Solar Panels

On the flip side, as a homebuyer, selecting a property that comes with a solar system installed can offer substantial energy cost savings. Beyond the financial aspect, you’re contributing to environmental preservation by reducing your carbon emissions and lessening the dependency on fossil fuels.

The stability that solar energy can provide is especially pertinent as more extreme weather events impact energy infrastructure and as energy costs continue to rise. Investing in a solar system, perhaps coupled with battery storage, grants a considerable edge in terms of energy self-reliance. With the growing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) and the surge in fuel prices, having the capability to charge your EV at home using solar power is an attractive and sensible prospect for the future.

Whether your home includes solar panels alone or a comprehensive system with battery storage and an EV charging station, it’s crucial to ensure that a robust warranty backs your setup. This is to safeguard and maximize the benefits from your solar investment for years to come.

Potential Challenges When Acquiring or Disposing of a Home with Solar Panels

When considering a home with solar panels, there are several potential complications to be aware of. One major concern is the transferability and terms of the solar warranty—some warranties may not transfer to the new owner, or there might be fees involved. Additionally, the condition of the solar panels can pose a problem; if they are damaged or functioning poorly, this could be a drawback. The implications of a leased solar system are also crucial to understand, as they vary depending on the lease or loan terms, such as those under a Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) agreement or a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). It’s vital to have a clear understanding of any financial obligations and warranty specifics associated with the system.

While investing in solar energy can be advantageous, it’s important to scrutinize the specifics of the solar setup you’re inheriting. The condition of the panels should be assessed by a home inspector, and a thorough maintenance history should be obtained to ensure you’re making a well-informed purchase.

Preparations for Selling a Home Outfitted with Solar Panels

When preparing to sell your home, especially for the first time, there’s a considerable amount to keep track of. If your home includes a solar power system, additional preparation is necessary to facilitate a smoother sale. Being ready to provide detailed responses to potential buyers about the solar installation is crucial for enabling them to make an informed choice. It’s also beneficial to compile a list of environmental and economic advantages, supported by your energy bill data, to engage and excite prospective buyers about the benefits of solar energy.

Consider these solar energy facts that could interest buyers:

  • Owning a solar system for a year is environmentally equivalent to planting 150 trees.
  • Solar energy contributes to overall air purity.
  • It enhances air quality in densely populated areas, which are often plagued by environmental pollution.
  • Solar energy usage can lead to a marked decrease in respiratory and cardiovascular health problems due to cleaner air.
  • Homeowners can experience a reduction in their monthly energy expenses by 70%-100%, depending on the efficiency and size of their solar system.

Showcasing Solar Benefits to Entice Homebuyers

Highlighting the benefits of solar panels can significantly enhance the appeal of your home to potential buyers, especially those interested in energy autonomy and long-term savings—attributes that are increasingly relevant with rising energy costs and the prevalence of electric vehicles (EVs).

Before listing your solar-equipped home, consider this checklist to position your sale for success:

  1. Disclose the installer’s identity. A reputable installation company’s track record can be a strong selling point, so make sure to highlight this to your buyers and instruct your real estate agents to leverage this detail.
  1. Present a detailed maintenance history. Assure prospective buyers of the system’s condition by providing a thorough maintenance record, showing that the system has been well-cared-for.
  1. Clarify the solar system’s ownership status. If your system is leased, buyers will appreciate knowing the buyout options or lease transfer procedures, simplifying the sales process.

Understanding Solar Lease or PPA Transferability

For homes utilizing a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), buyers should inquire about buyout options and ownership transfer terms, which often require a 7-10 year period before a buyout is possible.

Ideally, outright ownership of the solar system is preferable, allowing for tax benefits and minimizing risk. However, warranties associated with PPA agreements may have transfer limitations.

Ease of Warranty Transfers in Solar Sales

When purchasing a solar system, engage in a thorough conversation with the installer regarding the warranty. Understand the implications for warranty transfer upon the sale of your home, as processes vary between owned and leased systems.

Restrictions on Warranty Transfers

Selling a home with a fully paid-off solar system typically allows for a straightforward warranty transfer to new owners. It’s important to confirm the process with your solar warranty provider as lease agreements may come with specific transfer restrictions.

Solar Ownership and the Market for Energy Independence

As battery storage technology advances, homeowners are increasingly managing their own energy needs. Ensuring your solar system is well-maintained and protected is crucial for its longevity and for presenting it as an attractive feature to buyers.

When selling, your role includes educating potential buyers about the solar system and warranty specifics to facilitate a smooth transition. Buyers aim to make informed decisions, minimizing risk and optimizing the numerous benefits solar energy provides.
For further queries, our 8MSolar team is at your service to clarify any questions. Let 8MSolar help you with all your solar installation questions and needs.

FREE Virtual Consultation