Not only can adding solar panels to a home save energy costs and help the environment, it also can potentially increase a home’s value. During the past year, 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.
The sale premium varies substantially by market. In Riverside, Calif., for example, homes with solar-energy systems sold for 2.7% more than comparable homes without solar power—a markup of $9,926 for the median-valued home in the metro. In the greater New York City metro, solar-powered homes have a premium that is double that of Riverside. At 5.4%, that’s an extra $23,989 in value for the typical home in New York.
In three other coastal metro areas—Los Angeles, San Francisco and Orlando, Fla.—homes with solar power can fetch a premium of around 4%.
One reason houses with solar-energy systems sell for more than those without them is because they can provide substantial future energy cost savings. For homeowners who know they consume a lot of power, these future savings are worth spending a bit more money up front. It is also possible that homes with solar-energy systems are more likely to have other features that are hard to measure yet valuable, like heated floors, which could contribute to the premium associated with solar power.
Personal preferences play a role, too: More than 80% of home buyers say energy-efficient features are important, according to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report.
We calculated the solar premium by comparing homes with and without solar-energy systems that were listed for sale and sold from March 1, 2018 to February 28, 2019, controlling for observable attributes of the homes, including bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, age of the home and location.