Selling/Buying a Home with Solar
Instructions for Buying or Selling a Home with a Photovoltaic System
There’s growing evidence that adding solar panels to your home increases your property value. According to Zillow, homes with solar sell for 4% more than homes without solar. Homes with solar also sell faster than their non-solar counterparts. A Berkeley Labs study reports similar findings, that homes with solar systems sold, on average, for $15,000 more than homes without. This pattern holds especially true for Massachusetts homeowners selling their property.
Massachusetts is a unique state where programs are designed to encourage solar energy. For example, through Net Metering and different incentives, it helps to offset the upfront costs to invest in renewable energy alternatives.
A tip for Selling a Home with Solar. Make sure the realtor is aware of the existing system and is familiar with selling a home that includes solar. It’s important to include your solar system in your home’s listing. In addition to system size and energy production, you’ll want to highlight the transferrable warranties and monitoring systems. Showcase how you simultaneously save money on electric bills, earn money through incentives, and reduce your carbon footprint.
The SREC & SMART incentive is a payment that is based off what the system produces. Each one of the specific incentive programs listed below has a 10-year end date. For some of the older systems that were installed in 2012 the 10-year SREC 1 program will be coming to an end as will the payments. The SREC incentive program should be transferred to the new home & system owner. The SMART program can remain with the original purchaser of the system for the full 10 years. If the seller chooses to keep the SMART incentive, the new homeowner still benefits from lower electric bills. However, transferring the SMART Program to the buyer increases the resale value of the home, so it’s an option you should consider.
Here are the dates that determine what incentive program the system is in. Consider the time frame of when the system was allowed to be turned On and officially connected to the grid.
- SREC 1: January 2010 – April 25, 2014
- SREC 2: April 26, 2014 – January 8, 2017
- SREC 2 extension: January 9, 2017 – November 25, 2018
- SMART: November 26, 2018 – Present
Utility Account with Solar and Net Metering:
Net metering allows you to generate your own electricity to offset your electricity usage. During the day, most solar customers produce more electricity than they consume; net metering allows them to export that power to the grid and reduce their future electric bills. When you use electricity from the electric company, your meter spins forward. When you generate excess electricity and “export” electricity to the electric grid, your meter spins backward.
Tip for Buyers setting up their electric account that has an existing solar system:
After an electric account has been established under the buyers name a blank copy of the utility’s Schedule Z form may appear in the mail or first bill. Upon moving in, if the system is on and generating power, the net meter on site will automatically be getting back fed. When the PV system over produces it will spin the net meter backwards and will send power out onto the grid. That over production is accounted for at the end of the month billing cycle and the electric bill will either have a positive amount when a payment is due or a negative amount when there is a credit. That credit will continue to build up and will typically be used up in the shorter winter days. If the buyer neglects updating the schedule z net metering agreement with the utility any credit at the end of the month will not be applied towards the account. The schedule z is an important form for buyers to update and send back to the utility with the first payment.
Its also encouraged to discuss the solar array with any new homeowner’s insurance carrier. If there was a hurricane or fire and the system or roof was damaged a homeowner’s insurance claim might need to be opened to cover the cost to replace the modules or damaged equipment. The carrier might like to know the cost to replace the system should it be damaged. Please mention this as an added precaution.