Do solar panels affect house sales?
Posted by Cathy Debenham on 29 September 2010 at 3:35 pm
A solar panel installation should make a house more desirable, shouldn't it? There's the saving on energy bills from using home-generated electricity, and even at the lower early adopters feed-in rate the combination of generation rate and export rate begin to add up to a nice bit of extra income.
At current rates with an average size installation you'd expect to save around £150 a year from electricity bills, and get around £200 a year feed-in tariff income. This continues until 2027 and the saving is likely to increase as electricity prices rise.
What's not to like about that, I wonder. But I just received the following:
"My partner and I installed 5kWp of solar PV on our home some 5 years ago when the grants were 50% or £15,000. I felt, that as I was involved with the industry I should put my money where my mouth is (so to speak).
Now we have all been let down by not getting the same feed in tariff as people installing now.
The real problem that I have now is that we have put our home on the market in order to relocate. I have had a few persons come to see the house via our agents. When the solar PV question comes up and I say we only get paid 9p per unit it puts off the potential buyers as they feel that they are being penalized for buying a house that have been made energy efficient with the introduction of solar energy. both PV and thermal.
This has now left me with a dilemma as to whether I should I take the system off the house. However, this is not right, I should not even be contemplating such a shameful move.
Also how many other people are in the same situation. What would any of your readers have to say about this situation?"
This is my reply: My feeling is that you’re pitching it wrong to potential buyers of your house. They don’t have to make a capital investment – you've already done it. If they buy your house they get the benefits of cheaper electricity bills than they would in any other house plus 9p for every unit generated plus 3p for every unit exported until 2027 – they’d be mad not to embrace that.
My back of an envelope calculation says they'll get £470 of feed-in tariff income a year - and of course the savings from the free electricity they use. This is a fantastic selling point.
Sure the low rate for early adopters is bad news for you as the person who made the investment – if you were staying in your house. But as you're not, it doesn't matter one way or the other. Be positive about the benefits, and they should command a premium on the selling price. And you can always install another solar PV system on your new house and claim the full rate of feed-in tariff.
What does anyone else think? Should the correspondent be dismayed. Should the buyers be put off - or jumping at the opportunity?
Photo by Edward Tse
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