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Do solar systems add monetary value to a property on resale?

I attended a class recently, the topic of which was solar systems and how they impact the monetary value of a property being sold. I was surprised by the answers.

Appraisers can use a complicated yet thorough process combining two websites, which the public has access to as well:

Roof Azimuth Tool:

PV Value:

Trying to figure this value out even using these tools can be a bit daunting, though for the geek hearted, probably fun. Trust me, I tried it myself.

The good news is the appraiser who taught the class, Brian Melshheimer of Snap Appraisals will, for a fee, do this calculation for you. If you are considering selling your home, and want to know how much your solar system contributes to the value, it may be worth a few hundred dollars to have Brian figure that out for you. He does produce a handy report. I was impressed.

Now, for the not so good news, depending on the type of system you have. Some types of systems have no appraisal value for FNMA loans. As in zero. This link (Fannie Mae Appraising Properties with Solar Panels) will help you determine if a particular solar set up has contributory appraisal value.

For instance, 100% owned solar systems (with no financing debt or restrictions), do contribute value. Leased systems or those that serve as power purchase agreements only (PPA), do not. Keep in mind the long term savings in lower power bills should still positively factor into your decision to purchase a home with leased or PPA contract, even if the equipment itself doesn’t have value. As long as the purchase price of the home reflects the value or lack thereof, you are good to go.

If purchasing a home with solar, always expect to see the present owners’ most recent PG&E True Up statement which is an expression of how much the system is producing versus how much is being used and ultimately, how much extra PG&E is owed annually or, if over producing, how much of a check they issue to the owner in compensation for that. Likewise to sellers, you will be asked to produce the most recent True Up statement so work on getting a copy of that early on.

What does this mean to you? If you are considering selling your home with an owned solar system and you want to define the monetary value of it, getting a solar appraisal might be worth your time and money in the long run. It is likely beyond the scope and capability of most real estate agents to put an accurate number to that system but as above, you do have a local resource who can. If you are considering buying a home with solar, which is very likely these days, you can review your appraisal report to find out the appraised value of the system.

We hope this blog post will help you determine if or how much a solar system should contribute to the purchase price of a property. As always, we invite your questions or comments about this subject or any other.

Sharon Currie is a Realtor (DRE #01357602) and operations manager for the Betsy Hamilton Real Estate Team. Contact her via email at

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