Study: Rooftop Solar Improves Home Resale Values

by Silvio Marcacci.

Rooftop solar can add curb appeal and resale value to homes.
Rooftop solar can add curb appeal and resale value to homes and when connected to the grid, is then termed ‘Distributed Energy’ or simply, ‘Distributed solar’ which adds electrical generation capacity to the grid and stabilizes local grid systems. Rooftop solar PV installers image via Shutterstock.

Installing rooftop solar panels boosts a home’s resiliency and green credentials while cutting utility bills, but does it also increase a home’s resale value?

The answer according to Exploring California PV Home Premiums, a new Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) study, is a resounding yes – at least in California.

Data analyzed from 2000-2009 highlights a clear trend of solar homes selling for a higher premium than non-solar homes statewide, meaning going green also creates economic opportunity and empowers homeowners to make some greenbacks.

Rooftop Solar Values Undefined And Underestimated

Fast on the heels of America’s record-setting third quarter for new residential solar installations, the LBNL study fills a major gap in adequately valuing home solar systems.

While several previous studies (including a 2011 LBNL report) recognized solar homes command higher prices, many appraisers assign no additional value to a solar PV system. And, those who do assign value have little data in terms of comparable home sales to determine the exact value to assign to the home. Considering sales of green goods have outpaced the overall economy and clean energy investments have been shown to significantly boost commercial building values, it’s a timely quandary.

LNBL decided to solve this problem by examining sales data for 1,894 solar homes and 70,425 comparable non-solar homes sold across California between 2000-2009. Analysts took three factors into consideration: regression analysis of actual sale prices over time, sensitivities of estimated solar premiums to the system age and size, and comparison of actual solar premiums paid compared to predictions made through estimated system cost and income.

$5,900 Resale Value Increase Per Installed Kilowatt

Their results are as clear as the sun on a cloudless day. LBNL’s report estimated that each 1-kilowatt (kW) increase in rooftop solar system size adds $5,911 to a home’s resale value. “Our analysis offers clear support that a premium exists in the marketplace, thus PV systems have value and their contribution to home values must be assessed,” states the report.

California solar home resale premiums
California solar home resale premiums chart via Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

However, consumer misperceptions about a rooftop solar array’s age diminishing its output and value often hang over solar homes. The report found that for each year of a system’s age, solar premiums decline 9% – falling much faster than either system income (which decreases .5% annually), system cost (which increases 5% annually), or system output (which decreases around 1% annually).

This means consumers look at solar panels the same way they do most consumer electronics – as the item gets older, it gets less desirable, even if it work just as well as a newer model. Interestingly, the LBNL findings track with data from PV Value, a spreadsheet tool developed by Sandia National Laboratories to determine the value of solar PV systems through system income.

What About Other States Or Third-Party Systems?

The LBNL report is great news for homeowners in California, but it’s not surprising considering the state is the epicenter of the US clean tech market while leading America in distributed solar generation. What about the rest of the country, or the growing number of homes that install solar through leasing programs or third-party companies?

Not to worry – the report’s authors plan to cover those questions starting with the next edition of their research. Subsequent studies will examine solar home premiums from markets beyond California, the change in premium through the housing market crash and recovery, sale price differences between customer-owned and third-party owned solar arrays, and the impact system age and retail electricity rates have on solar home premiums.

Add it all up, and America’s sizzling solar industry could get even hotter as homeowners look past environmental benefits to see the pure investment opportunities rooftop PV systems generate.

This article, Study Shows Rooftop Solar Adds Thousands To Home Resale Values, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

Australia’s Macquarie Funds British Distributed Solar

Originally published on RenewEconomy
by Guest Contributor Sophie Vorrath

UK public-housing contractor, Herbert T Forrest Ltd, will receive as much as $US197 million from Australia’s Macquarie Bank to fund zero upfront cost solar-power installations across Britain, reports Bloomberg.

UK distributed energy gets $197 million in financing from Australia’s Macquarie.
UK distributed energy gets $197 million in financing from Australia’s Macquarie.

The northern England-based company says it will use the funds over three years to install panels on residential rooftops at no upfront cost, a deal it will offer to both social-housing tenants and private homeowners.

Customers taking advantage of the deal would give up the associated subsidies – feed-in tariffs, or fixed above-market rates for clean energy – earned by the new solar systems, which would go towards repaying the bank.

As Bloomberg notes, offers like these once helped fuel a UK solar boom, until renewable energy incentives were cut in April last year. “Macquarie, which already supports Freetricity Plc’s free solar plans, is helping fuel a revival.”

Such a revival would, presumably, also be welcomed by the industry in Australia, where clean energy subsidies have been pared back dramatically over the past two years, and where the solar leasing model remains in its infancy.

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency recently said it was looking at mechanisms to attract just the sort of capital that Macquarie is now applying in the UK. While there remains debate about whether leasing schemes would be attractive to home owners with a mortgage, ARENA says there would be huge opportunity in houses with low incomes, or which are rented.

Back in the UK, Forrest says it will initially offer the PV installation deal to tenants of the public housing units it manages in northern England, the Midlands and Wales. It then plans to open it up to private homes and social housing partners in Scotland and southern England.

The company launched its clean energy unit in 2011 to benefit from the introduction of subsidies, and has installed 6,000 solar photovoltaic systems so far.

This article, Macquarie Funds Solar Leasing For British Public Housing, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

Hareon Solar Invests $1.6 Billion on 1GW Solar Project

by Nathan.

Hareon Solar
New $1.6 Billion renewable energy power project for Inner Mongolia.

Hareon Solar — a noted developer of renewable energy projects — recently announced its intent to invest over CNY10 billion ($1.6 billion) into a 1 GW solar energy farm to be built in Inner Mongolia.

The deal — which was formally closed with the signing of a Letter of Intent on the 20th of November — is between the Mongolia Alashan Civil Administration and Hareon Solar.

The initial 100 MW is planned for completion sometime in 2014. It is to be located on a 4,000 acre site in the desert. Currently, project plans are being finalized and the project is going through the government approval and feasibility process. Hareon will reportedly receive some incentives for the project, but no details have been disclosed as far as we are aware.

In case you aren’t familiar with this are of the world, the Alashan region is located about 1,200 kilometers (746 miles) to the west of Beijing.

Keep up with all the hottest solar power news here on CleanTechnica, or even subscribe to our free solar power newsletter.

Image Credit: Alashan via Wikimedia CC

This article, Hareon Solar Investing $1.6 Billion Into 1,000 MW Solar Energy Project In Inner Mongolia, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

NathanNathan For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity. – Ecclesiastes 3:19

Toshiba To Build and Operate Solar Systems in Germany

by Nicholas Brown.

Toshiba Solar Power Systems
Toshiba has embarked on an ambitious scheme in Germany, where they will build, own, and operate (BOO) solar power systems, on commercial building rooftops.

Toshiba intends to utilize a new business model in Germany under which it will install and operate self-consumption solar power systems for residents of apartment buildings. It intends to sell the power to the residents of these buildings at a lower price than utility companies do. The system will consist of batteries and the μEMS micro energy management system.

Toshiba will launch this system in March and install 3 MW of solar panels for 750 apartments operated by GAGFAH, a German real estate company in Villingen-Schwenningen and Ostfildern. The apartment buildings are all located in Barten-Wuerttemburg. Toshiba also hopes to increase capacity from 3 MW at the start to 100 MW by 2016.

This is reminiscent of the business model solar leasing companies such as SolarCity, Sunrun, Sungevity, and others use. Residents can call these companies, have them install solar panels at no initial cost (or little initial cost), and then pay a fraction of what their electricity bill used to be for the solar-generated electricity. However, these companies serve single-family homes with their own roofs. Toshiba’s entry into the realm of apartment buildings, to be funded and owned by a group of pension funds, is potentially huge.

However, worth noting is that Germany’s electricity policies are important to the enabling of this option. Toshiba writes:

Although Germany introduced a feed-in tariff system for renewable energy in 2000, and while the adoption of photovoltaic (PV) power has increased, consumers have recently seen higher electricity bills every year, along with a lower feed in price for surplus solar power. Germany is seeking solutions to this by deregulating its energy market, separating power generation and transmission, and independent power providers can now participate and deliver electricity. Toshiba is responding with a new on-site consumption model that will operate independently of the feed-in tariff system, and that is expected to reduce burden on the regional gird and the environment.

But Toshiba and its partners don’t intend to stick solely with this solar power scheme. They also want to expand into the related energy management realm.

Going forward, it will also install stationary batteries and integrate a micro energy management system, μEMS, to realize an integrated solution. Toshiba’s goal is to develop a self-sufficient model for on-site consumption that delivers solar-power electricity day and night, and apply it to a service business that supports energy management on a real-time basis. In developing its smart-grid related business at the global level, Toshiba will promote the integration and use of dispersed power sources that match local needs and conditions.

Keep up with all the hottest solar power news here on CleanTechnica, or even subscribe to our free solar power newsletter.

Follow me on Twitter @Kompulsa.

This article, Toshiba To Build & Operate Solar Systems For Apartment Buildings In Germany, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Nicholas Brown

Nicholas Brown has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, geography, and much more. My website is: Kompulsa.

Most Attractive States For Investing In Solar

by Zachary Shahan.

.

Originally published on Cost of Solar.

–> See how much money solar power could save you!

There are a lot of ways to evaluate the attractiveness of a place for renewable energy or solar energy investment, and to evaluate the best solar states. Of course, it depends on what factors and assumptions you take into account, as well as what segment of the market you are actually evaluating.

One of the leading evaluators of such markets is Ernst & Young (EY). The “professional services firm” recently released its most up-to-date renewable energy attractiveness indices for the US, including a solar energy index. The report includes solar market data for 2012 as well as a well-researched ranking of states by their solar energy investment attractiveness. The overall summary is clear, as we have been writing for months here on CostofSolar.com: the US solar market is booming.

US Solar Market Booming

“In 2012 the US installed 3,313 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity, with 1,300 MW coming in Q4 alone, surpassing both annual and quarterly records. Even with falling costs the dollar value of the market size of the US solar industry grew 34% in 2012,” EY writes. “The cumulative total of solar PV in the US is now at 7,221 MW, with cumulative PV installations exceeding 300,000 individual units.”

A new solar panel installation is now occurring every 4 minutes in the US, according to an analysis from GTM Research.

Solar Leasing Is Hot

As I’ve reported a few times previously, solar leasing is hot. This is partly due to the fact that residential solar power has become quite cheap, and partly due to the fact that people are attracted to $0 down purchasing options, especially when the products (i.e., solar panels) save them money from Day 1. This makes going solar a no-brainer (even more than it already is).

EY writes: “Third-party ownership or leasing of rooftop solar PV systems in the US accounted for more than 50% of the residential and commercial market in 2012. Average residential system prices dropped nearly 20% between Q4 2011 and Q4 2012, and industry experts expect this segment of the market to surge as third-party financing options spread throughout the country.”

US Southwest Is Hot

The leading states are largely in the Southwest, thanks in part to its tremendous solar energy potential, but there are some outliers.

“The top five states for solar electric capacity installed in 2012 were California (becoming the first state to install over 1,000 MW in a single year), Arizona, New Jersey, Nevada and North Carolina, while the leaders in cumulative solar capacity installed through 2012 were California, Arizona, New Jersey, Nevada and Colorado.”

The 10 most attractive states for solar energy investment, according to EY, are now:

Best Solar States For Return On Investment (ROI)

Overall, I find the EY report very useful, as it includes fairly comprehensive policy and market analyses, and even does so for the top solar states.

However, as people who have read me for awhile know, I’m a big fan of relative rankings… of which there are very few. Looking at absolute rankings such as total solar power capacity, you miss who is leading the way on a per capita or per GDP basis. And you miss which states offer the best return on investment for a single residential solar power system.

If you’re curious about the latter, you may have noticed that we’ve already shared a great ranking on that, which changed the above order a bit to come up with this top 10 ranking:

  1. Hawaii — 24% IRR
  2. DC (if you want to include it) — 20% IRR
  3. New York — 17% IRR
  4. Connecticut — 16% IRR
  5. Colorado — 15% IRR
  6. Massachusetts — 15% IRR
  7. New Mexico — 13% IRR
  8. California — 12% IRR
  9. South Carolina – 12% IRR
  10. Delaware – 12% IRR
Best Solar States Per Capita

At the end of 2012, the top solar states for installed solar power per capita ranking shuffles the top solar states around yet again:

top-solar-states-per-capita-total

Image Credit: Zachary Shahan / CleanTechnica. Data Credit: GTM Research / SEIA.

top-solar-power-states-per-capita-total-solar

Image Credit: Zachary Shahan / CleanTechnica. Data Credit: GTM Research / SEIA.

Best Solar States… Depends On Your Aims

In the end, I think all of this data is quite interesting. And it offers useful lessons of different types. The EY ranking is certainly useful to investors and major companies who want to figure out the policies and market of one or more states in order to invest in solar projects for the best return on investment (ROI). It also helps show how large states and even countries can better promote solar power.

The solar ROI study briefly mentioned after that is actually useful for the same thing (through slightly different data and research). But it’s also useful for individual homeowners or small businesses who are considering the switch to solar.

And the per capita rankings show us who the true state leaders are, showing us which states’ solar or electricity policies would be most worth emulating.

But, really, for our main audience (the common Joe), there’s simply one thing to do: find out how much solar power could save you, get connected to the best installer for your money in your region, and go solar so that you can start savings tens of thousands of dollars off your electricity bills.

The longer you wait to make the switch, the more money you are throwing away on dirty power from a monopolistic utility company. And the fact is, you can get an estimate of how much you’d save in less time than it takes to watch another cat video or Gangnam Style.

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This article, Most Attractive States For Investing In Solar, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Zachary Shahan is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.