A guide to selling your solar powered home

Francisco CastroApril 25, 2019 1722 0

As climate change warnings take root and people switch to renewable energy sources, putting up panels on their roofs in ever increasing numbers, homebuyers and realtors across the country are reporting increased interest in homes with solar power systems, and they’re willing to pay for it. 

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) “REALTORS and Sustainability 2019 Report”, consumer demand in real estate continues to trend eco-friendly. According to the report, 59% of respondents found that residential consumers were very or somewhat interested in sustainability. Seven in 10 residential and commercial agents and brokers reported that promoting energy efficiency in listings is either somewhat or very valuable.

“The state of the environment is important to our members and their business practices, and the report shows that sustainability impacts consumers’ home buying decisions as well,” said NAR President John Smaby.

The report also found that 36% of respondents said that solar panels increased the perceived property value.

Those numbers are backed by a study published by online real estate database company Zillow, which found that homes with solar-energy systems sold for 4.1% more on average than comparable homes without solar power. For the median-valued home, that translates to an additional $9,274.

With so much interest, owners of a solar energy home are sure to get plenty of offers when they put it on the market. 

And here are some things to keep in mind in this situation:

Leasing vs Owning

Selling a house with owned solar panels is more straightforward, as the solar system is part of the property. However, if you purchased the system with a loan that still has a balance, you'll need to pay off the remainder.

On the other hand, if you’re leasing your solar power system, this presents some additional challenges.

Potential buyers are probably unfamiliar with the process of taking over a solar lease and your best bet might be to buy yourself out of the solar contract if you’re unable to find someone to take it over. To do this, you will look for a buyout clause in your lease contract. The cost might be steep, depending on how long you’ve had the lease. But This reduces the new owner’s responsibility and allows you to transfer your panels outright.

However, according to research by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, leased panels probably won’t impact your home’s value. According to the data collected by the study, people who sold homes in Southern California equipped with leased solar panels didn’t see a negative impact on their home’s value.

In fact, 77% of the solar leases in the group were transferred successfully to new owners, and only 20% of homeowners reported that would-be buyers were scared off by the solar lease process.

If you find a buyer who is ready to take it over, the next step is to transfer it into their name. This is a simple process, although it requires the cooperation of both the buyer and the seller.

Do know that the buyer will need to meet some credit requirements set by your third-party solar installer. While this isn’t usually an issue, it can be a problem for buyers with low credit scores.


Before putting the home on the market, make sure the solar array is working in fine order. Maybe you even want to call your solar company installer to conduct a thorough check-up of the system and do any needed maintenance. This makes the system more attractive to new homeowners.


Let your realtor and potential buyers know exactly what elements your solar system is composed of and offer detailed information about each.

Whether you own or lease your solar power system, put together a folder with relevant information about monthly energy savings data, documentation, material data sheets and user manuals regarding your solar system because it will provide them with educational materials so they can learn about the system. 

Once the home is sold, you’ll also want to provide the new home owners with instructions for next steps, as well as documents pertaining to the system, such as: 

     1.Original drawings/blueprints

     2.Warranty paperwork

     3.Operations manuals

     4.Specs such as:  Overall system size in kW and how many, what size and what kind of modules and inverters are installed.

     5.Date the system was last inspected and serviced.

     6.Communication devices and/or information to gain access to the monitoring portal.

Also, it helps if you’re working with a realtor who understands the value that a solar energy system can bring to a home and knows how to market that value appropriately. It's not a bad idea to find a real estate agent who has already sold homes that have solar energy systems and knows what it takes to get the job done.

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