Are solar panels an attractive asset to prospective homebuyers?

Are solar panels an attractive asset to prospective home buyers? Or can they make house sales more difficult?

Many UK homeowners worry that having solar energy installed in their property could negatively affect them if they decide to sell at a later date. But is this true?

In the following article, we’re going to explore this question in more detail; identifying the many positives that having solar panels on your property can bring…as well a few difficulties.

But let’s start by highlighting how solar panels could actually benefit selling your home….

The Advantages of Selling a House with Solar Panels 

1.3 million UK homes now have solar energy systems installed. So, it seems that many householders all over the country agree that having solar panels could be a good thing.

Lower Energy Bills

Based on current estimates – a 3.5 kW system can save a typical household between £160 and £420 a year on their annual energy bills.  

Homeowners can also earn money back through a feed-in tariff. This is a system that pays a fee for supplying any unused domestically generated energy back into the grid. The amount you can earn back is set by the energy company that you’re selling your energy to. Rates often fluctuate every half hour and because of this, they can range from between 1p to 20p per kWh.

Being able to save and make money on electricity makes having solar panels an attractive asset for many prospective buyers!  

They’re low maintenance…& long lasting

Time is a luxury that many of us seem to be in short supply of these days.  A properly installed, well-designed solar energy system requires very little maintenance. This could be another reason that brings buyers rushing to exchange with you! 

Most solar panels are estimated to last 25 years or more. And with new advances in solar technology, some experts are predicting that the latest models could now even last for 40 years. However, despite the advance in overall longevity, the efficiency is still likely to decline at around 20 to 25 years. 

A good warranty often provides cover for up to 20 years and it’s also possible to have solar panels covered by your buildings insurance. These details should always be checked with individual suppliers and insurers in advance however.

An increase in property value

Houses with solar panels can often sell for more money. Current estimates state that solar panels may increase the value of a typical home by up to 2%. In a recent study of more than 5 million property exchanges in the UK, it found an increase of at least £2000.

This goes to show that people are willing to pay that little bit extra for the long-term environmental and financial benefits that renewable energy can bring to their homes.

Eco-Friendly Appeal

Solar energy is generated directly from the sun without the need to burn fossil fuels. This allows people to live in a more sustainable way, lowering their carbon footprint. Depending on where you live in the UK – it’s estimated that a typical home fitted with solar panels can save around one tonne of carbon per year. 

Many of the materials used to make solar panels are also recyclable. However, this is not true for all the components – some will need to be disposed of by specialists to ensure they don’t end up in landfill. All reputable UK manufacturers and installers are members of the Producer Compliance Scheme which ensures that all obsolete solar panels are removed and recycled properly – at no further cost to you. 

So, all in all, having solar panels installed on your property could make your house much more appealing to the potential buyers who care about the environment!

And the Challenges… 

While there are undeniably many benefits to having solar panels…there are also some reasons that could make it potentially more difficult to sell your home. These aren’t likely to deter potential buyers however – but if you’re a seller who’s putting your home on the market shortly after you’ve had solar energy equipment installed – you could be impacted.  

Upfront Costs  

The cost of installing solar panels has escalated over the past two years. It now costs £7,000 for a typical three-bedroomed house to be converted to a solar energy system. Although it is possible to save as much as £1,190 per year on energy bills and may only take eight years for some homeowners to break even from these costs – for others, it could actually take between 15 years and 20 years to recoup this.

 There are several government grants that could completely eliminate these upfront installation costs. Check here to see if you’re eligible.

The where, when and how

It all depends on how much electricity you use, when you use it and how much you earn by selling your electricity back to the grid which will determine how quickly you recoup installation costs. Where you live is also important. As solar energy depends on daylight hours, northern homes can get slightly less compared to those that are situated in the south. This means it could take longer to see a return on your investment. 

Stay in to win

You also have more chance of recouping your money sooner if you’re at home during the day as you’ll be using most of your electricity while your panels are generating. However, if you’re only at home during the evening, don’t worry! You could store this energy in batteries to use later or earn money by selling it back to the grid. 

Lease Agreements

If you have a lease agreement for your solar panels, it might need to be transferred to the new owner which can make the sale process a bit more complicated. Check with your installer for more information on this. 

It’s not all bad

Having your property already installed with solar panels will eliminate initial costs for potential buyers – making your home an attractive asset to those wishing to save money and the environment.

Trade body Solar Energy UK recently published a report which found homeowners who move after having panels installed would regain some of the value of their investment in a higher sale price. It looked at more than five million property transactions and said a typical home with solar panels could increase in price by at least £2,000. And according to EcoExperts, solar panels could even increase a property’s value by as much as 14%, on average. 

So, both you and the new owner can benefit financially from solar power!

Help for heat

If you’re unsure whether you’re going to stay in a property for at least a decade before you decide to sell – you may be deterred from switching to solar power. But there are government schemes that can eliminate installation costs entirely…meaning you could have the best of both worlds.

The ECO4 Scheme is just one of the several energy company funded grants that provides free solar panels to customers who meet certain eligibility criteria.

So, to conclude… 

In the UK, it’s not usually difficult to sell a home with solar panels. In some ways, it can even make the process easier! Not only can having solar panels increase the value of your property, they also bring many other benefits such as lower energy bills and opportunities to earn money on the energy you don’t use by selling back to the grid. All without causing further harm to the planet!

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