Toni F. Ryan
Should You Add Solar Panels to Your Home?
"Going Solar" is a hot phrase! If you're considering solar, review some of the pros and cons:
The Pros of Adding Solar Panels to Your Home
Lower Electric Bill - Depending on the size of your home and your electricity use, adding solar panels to your home can reduce your monthly bill.
Installation Costs are Lower than Ever - Since 2011, the cost of installing solar panels has dropped by 60%. There are also federal and local tax credits & subsidies to help lower the upfront setup costs.
Flexible Purchase Options - Due to the increased interest in solar energy, there are more companies to choose from for installing solar panels more ways to afford the installation. You can choose to lease, buy or finance. There are also energy assistance programs such as mPower that tie the payment for the solar in with your real estate taxes. It is important to make sure than any financing option has a lower payment than your average electricity bill to ensure that you are saving money.
The Cons of Adding Solar Panels to Your Home
Not a Simple "Quick Fix" - You will need a professional who can recommend proper panel size and placement as well as install additional wiring that is necessary for energy conversion and use. There are concerns that damage done to a roof during installation may result in water leaks.
Hefty Upfront Cost - The national average of panel installation is $17,000. This can be a lot of up-front expense for many homeowners who will need to have a long-term plan to stay in the home to see overall savings.
Increase in Insurance Premium - If you decide to add solar panels, expect to see your homeowner’s insurance premium increase to cover the potential replacement of these fixtures.
Leased Panels Don't Add Appraised Value - If you choose to lease solar panels, keep in mind that you don't own the panels. Appraisers will not add value for the solar panels when assessing your home’s value because the panels are not owned and permanent fixtures to the home.
Financed Panels May Turn-Off Buyers (& Lenders) - When you secure a loan to pay for your solar panels and then decide to sell your home - the new buyers must be willing to not only buy your home but also take over the solar panel loan. This can make it difficult for some buyers who may fail to qualify or who don't like the terms of your solar loan. Many lenders will not lend with a PACE program (example mPower) in place which collects the payment through your home’s real estate tax bill because this is recorded as a tax lien. To sell or refinance, this loan would need to be paid off.
Added Maintenance & Repair Requirements - Just like any appliance or fixture, there is necessary maintenance and cleaning required. As the panels age, there will also be necessary repairs to keep everything in working order. Hopefully, this information helps you make a more informed decision about adding solar panels to your home. Remember to explore all the options to making your home more energy efficient before you decide. Often upgrading windows, appliances and caulking can add more value to your home and lower your energy bill with less cost. When in doubt, talk to a mortgage professional about your unique situation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Toni F. Ryan | NMLS#230507
Senior Loan Officer | Pinnacle Home Loans
Toni F. Ryan has over 20 years experience in mortgage lending - both on the wholesale and retail levels. She believes that education is key to making the best decision for YOU! She shares her insight into the lending world here and encourages your feedback. Don't forget to connect on Facebook!