Are Solar Panels Still Important for Eco Homes?

solar panels

When Building Eco-Friendly Houses, Do You Need Solar Panels?

Solar panels have been a huge part of designing eco-friendly homes in recent years, especially as consumers become increasingly environmentally conscious.

But, are they still an important feature for home buyers? Keep reading to learn more about the popularity of solar panels, including some new financing information that could make them more appealing, to help you decide whether or not to include them in your next green home build.

Are Solar Panels Popular Amongst Home Buyers?

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, each additional $1 in energy bill savings (from a solar installation) adds $20 to the home’s total value. As electricity prices go up, the savings are bound to increase as well. Those savings are attractive to buyers, but the appeal isn’t entirely universal.

The popularity of solar will vary greatly based on where you’re building. For example, solar panels will be more popular in Southern California than they are in Northern Wisconsin. But, don’t assume that sunny, hot states are the only places where solar is popular. New Jersey actually has a very active solar market, so be sure to do your research.

The Importance of Working with a Real Estate Agent When Selling Homes with Solar Panels

Solar is becoming more and more well-known, but some buyers will be turned off by a home with solar panels. They might be concerned about how a lack of sun could impact the energy in their home, including their electric bills. They could be confused about the different financing options available, and what it means to lease panels or purchase panels outright.

If you decide to include solar panels in your home builds it’s important to partner with a real estate professional who understands the solar industry when you sell. They can help your potential buyers understand the pros and cons of this eco-friendly home feature. As a result, you’ll find your target customers faster and sell your homes.

Fannie Mae Now Finances Solar Panels

When considering solar panels you already know that many homeowners like the idea of a green energy source for their home, at least in theory. What they might not be as thrilled about is the cost. But, the affordability of solar is about to change rapidly.

In June 2015, Fannie Mae announced their HomeStyle Energy Mortgage. This plan:

“… Enables a homebuyer or mortgage refinancer to add a solar system after the mortgage loan has closed … The new mortgage requires a home energy report to determine the cost-effectiveness of the solar improvement. The report must show that the present value of energy savings is greater than the cost to install. The homeowner must also have an as-completed appraisal, which includes value for the not-yet-completed solar system.”

This new offering comes after the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) decision to finance new solar installations in a first mortgage transaction. The changes will lower the costs of installation and encourages healthy competition amongst solar companies, among other benefits.

Ultimately, whether you choose to install solar panels on your builds will depend on a variety of local factors. Talk to other professionals in your region, like real estate agents, to determine how important solar is in your market.

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