• Jesse Ledbetter

Why don't solar panels add value?

Updated: Feb 10

There are regions of the country where solar panels add value. Arid areas with little rainfall, predominant sun and limited topography/trees blocking the panels are needed. Additionally, high energy costs and tax incentives can be the push over the edge. However, most of the United States does not fall into this narrow category, and Virginia is one of them. Much like outdoor pools in Alaska, some things that cost a lot don't make sound real estate sense.

So, why don't solar panels add value to real estate:

  1. They depreciate quickly. Solar panels have a life span of approximately 20 years currently before needing to be replaced.

  2. With a "payback" (cost of installation-energy cost-saving) period of 10-13 years, plus the cost of maintenance and repairs (the roof, hail/wind/fallen branches), this means economically they can be a wash.

  3. Roof damage - many chose to install solar panels on their roof, which entails drilling through your roof. This effectively means that your 30 year rated roof, will now only see 66% of its value, because it will need to be replaced when your solar panels are.


What it will take to make solar make real estate sense:

  1. Energy costs to increase.

  2. Solar efficiency to increase.

  3. Popularity in rural areas where they can be placed on land.

As these factors change over time, there may come a point where solar panels are seen as a benefit, but the expectation of a 1:1 return is a long way in the future.

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