Recent experience has us second guessing this whole solar thing. Granted, turning off all the lights whenever leaving a room, not letting the water run when brushing your teeth or doing dishes, buying manual kitchen gadgets instead of electric ones, etc. is part of lowering one’s footprint and helps toward living green… but when it comes to solar power… WE’VE HAD A CHANGE OF HEART.
Let me explain: we have moved to a larger piece of property, more fertile, and in a totally different area of the country. We finally escaped the desert! That was a huge step into our living-simply lifestyle. But when we put our solar-powered ranchette in Texas on the market, we found out the hard way, how severely those solar panels ate into our profits. First of all, even though the solar panels saved us thousands on our electric bill this past year, trying to add the value of them into the sale price of the home?… It was a flop! We should have spent the money elsewhere into upgrades in the interior of the home instead. Bottom line: we made a mistake.
Although our home has increased in value since we purchased it, adding the equity increase of the solar panels was not doable. The sales price of our home was priced according to comps in the county, and the whole-house solar mattered little in the area where we lived. Buyers wanted two full baths instead of 1 1/2 baths. They wanted new flooring in the kitchen (granted, it needs an upgrade for sure). The list goes on, according to feedback from picky buyers in our price range. Most people still don’t have solar in our area and know nothing about it. We had to lower the price of our home by $30,000, just to get an offer. There went the value of the solar panels, out the window!
We are currently under contract, and are dealing with the realization that we are having to GIVE the solar panels away to the new buyer. When the sale is complete, we have to pay off every penny of the solar panel system from our profits, and transfer ownership to the buyer, who gets the system free and clear. And that’s after dropping the price of the home by $30K. We will still come out ahead once all is said and done, but we will only get 1/4 of the cash that we were expecting out of the sale of our home.
We’ve come to this conclusion: we will NOT get solar panels for our new property, unless we can purchase them with cash, upfront, and do our research to know if we are able to add the value of them to the resale value if we were to sell this home in the future. If not, solar is not worth it. Plus, we’re finding that electricity in this area is MUCH cheaper than where we lived in TX, to be sure! What would have cost us $300-$500 in electricity in the high desert of West TX this past month, only cost $68 this month in our new location. Even with solar panels in TX it wouldn’t have lowered our electric bill that much. (Extremely high temps and an A/C system that works overtime and still can’t keep up, is the reason.)
In talking to several realtors, not just our own, we’ve learned in hindsight that solar panels really don’t make that much difference in sales prices of homes on the market. We would have indeed been better off to use a home equity line of credit to upgrade to more thermal windows, add on to the bathrooms, put down new flooring in the kitchen, and upgrade the HVAC system. Not only would that have added value to a buyer, we would have gotten every penny back in a higher sales price for our home, and walked away with a windfall.
Lesson learned…the hard way.