With the increased number of solar photovoltaic installations in the UK over the last year there have been a number of questions about the saleability of a house with solar panels. Prior to the launch of the governments feed-in tariff there were very few examples of house sales where PV panels were installed so how exactly does it affect things like price, getting a mortgage and saleability.
I have spoken before about selling a house with solar panels and specifically brushed over homes being sold with free solar panels on the roof. In theory a home that produces its own electricity and therefore reduces the new homeowners electricity bills should be a great selling point. With the rising cost of energy and inflation someone using solar could buffer themselves against these rising prices by essentially getting half of all their electricity for free. As panels can last for some 30+ years this soon adds up to quite a saving.
Information about house sales with paid for solar or free systems are thin on the ground as free solar in the UK has only really taken off in the past year. There is a publicised case of a home being sold with a free system that had been installed by A Shade Greener. The new owners stated that the PV panels were a selling point due to the fact it would reduce their energy bills.
As with anything new there is always suspicion, that it one of the reasons house designs have pretty much stayed the same for the last few hundred years. General understanding about solar technologies is still quite low. However with that being said some surveys have shown that potential house buyers would be more likely than not to buy a house with solar features already fitted. The Energy Savings Trust reckons that homes with solar panels are a third more likely to sell faster than those that do not have them.
February 2012 - According to A Shade Greener 60 homes that have their free solar panel systems installed have been sold. The sales have been completed successfully and in one case the solar panels were stated as a reason the buyer was interested in the property initially.
Unfortunately it is not only the general public but also estate agents that have little understanding about renewable technologies. Having recently watch one of those home buying programs the presenter went on to wrongfully explain that solar photovoltaic panels generate all the homes hot water. This shows that there is little understanding about this technology.
Selling a home with solar panels should be thought of as selling a home with a cost saving feature. Explaining it in such a way as to show that the new owner will have lower bills for potentially up to 40 years. There is little or no maintenance involved with this technology and so there is unlikely to be a great deal of expense in having panels on your roof.
Of course not everyone is going to want to buy a home with panels fitted in the same way not everyone is going to by a home that doesn't have off road parking or some other saleable feature. I believe that as people get a greater understanding about solar it will become more of a selling point.
There are new homes being built with energy saving features such as solar PV, ground source heat pumps and high levels of thermal insulation. These types of technology will certainly reduce the homeowners running costs and are seen as a selling point. These types of technology in higher priced homes is certainly going to be perceived as a good value feature as it will only add a relatively small cast to the percentage of the home. In smaller homes I doubt if a potential buyer would be willing to pay a lot extra for a home compared to a neighbouring house with it.
No doubt there will be a certain type of home buyer that will specifically seek out homes with these features. In the future as solar becomes the norm you may get the opposite problems with houses without solar not selling. This is akin to buying a home without central heating. There have also been reports of homes not selling due to lack of internet broadband access which would have been unheard of years ago.
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