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Danielle M.…, Real Estate Pro in Roslindale, Boston, MA

What are your thoughts on homes with solar panels?

Asked by Danielle M. O'Brien, Roslindale, Boston, MA Wed Oct 3, 2012

Just looking for general agent thoughts on homes with solar panels? Do benefits of reduced electrical costs outweight the aesthetics of them on the roof - a front roof for example? They seem to be popping up more and more.

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They're becoming very popular here in southern California. Several builders include them and clients don't have any utility bills anymore. It's a nice selling point.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 23, 2012
Saying you will not get your return on investment, is not a true statement if you *own* not rent your solar panels.

In addition to diminishing or alltogether eliminating your Electric Bills, when you own your Solar Panels they *generate income for 10 years.*

My Solar Panels here in MA will pay for themselves in 3-5 years and also generate income via quarterly SREC checks.

They will provide for all our electric needs and the excesses will be "sold back" to the grid to help provide electricity for the grid.


Joyce who has solar panels AND geothermal heating/cooling
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 10, 2012
I am all for going green and supporting sustainable building. Now with that said Solar Pannels are more cost effective in areas such az California, Nevada & Arizona to name a few places, since there is sunshine 85 per cent of the time at the minimum. There are hardly any rainy days nor is there snow. Keep that in mind when you consider spending money to go Green!
Web Reference:
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 4, 2012
"You don't do it for the ROI...its about being GREEN. It is hard to justify the expense."

Respectfully, paying for themselves *AND* generating income more than justifies the expense and that's not even considering the Tax benefits along with environmental benefits.

I heat/cool with Geothermal and use Solar!

1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 4, 2012
Great question. Before I begin, let me say to Joyce that I am NOT trying to denegrate her position, but good luck getting to a definitive answer (though she seems pretty convinced). I live in sunny Key West and I have a LOT of roof over my head, so it seemed like a no brainer. After some exhaustive research, including talking to a lot of people currently using the latest solar panel technology, I'm still not convinced (and neither were they!). Hurricanes are only a minor concern, but they are definitely part of the equation. And the major concern there is only a little bit that they will blow away, it's that they will not be able to withstand the impact of the flying coconut that crashes into them. Then there's the issue of additional cost incurred when you need a new roof. But the biggest concern I've come across is the issue of the batteries. More batteries in the world does NOT equal green! And if you're going to use panels to generate electricity (versus just heating your water), you're going to have to involve batteries unless you're only using the generated electricity during daylight hours (a time when electricy use is very low in most of our homes because we are out at work). So financially, the cost of the regular battery replacement and the reliance on tax incentives that could easily evaporate in the current tax environment, it's not a sure thing (and investments that take a long time to recoup aren't always a good thing because time has a way of changing the game on you in the middle of play). Environmentally, though it may well be better than burning fossil fuels, the battery issue is a big one in my book. I would love to finally be convinced one way or the other, but to date that just hasn't happened. The only people I've found that are convinced (no offense Joyce) are those that really WANT to be convinced.

Joyce also alludes to geothermal. Now THERE'S a source of heating and cooling that I can find NO argument against. The only people who could dislike geothermal are the heating oil companies! Why waste money and energy heating things (water, air, etc) up and cooling things down when there's an unlimited source of heating/cooling a few yards down under our feet? Not sure if it's an option down here in the islands, though.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 16, 2013
Jim Most Solar systems tie into the grid so no batteries needed.
Flag Wed Jan 16, 2013
My panels made it Thru Hurricane Sandy with out hitch.
They a required to withstand winds up to 135mph and probably can wihtstand more that 150mph

I lease my panels and they are guaranteed to provide me with all electric I need .

As I stated in my 1st post they cost me nothing to install so they are worth the expense to me because it cut my electric bill in 1/2 and i will own them in 20 years
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jan 16, 2013
Scott, ground mount are also and option, that's what I have. Not sure about hurricane force winds, but it is worth looking into...

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 15, 2013
I'm jealous. I guess we don't have them where I live because of hurricanes. How can we possibly install GLASS solar components on rooftops when we're looking at insane winds every few years (or the threat of). Can you imagine the damage they would do in a hurricane, especially in dense building areas in Southeast Florida?

Harnessing the power of the sun could not be a better idea for the environment. Florida and SUN go together. Having your electric bill paid in full 'plus some' is unbeatable So why don't I see any where I live? I'm all for them.

Scott Miller
Realty Associates
Boca Raton-Miami Beach
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 15, 2013
I'd compare them to a swimming pool. If you want to install them for yourself, that's fine, but don't expect a return on your investment.

I personally cringe when I see them on the front of a house. But as time goes on it could become the norm.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 10, 2012
Actually I'd like to see them on every home in Arizona--land of the Sun knowing that harnessing the power of the sun makes for a greener world. Plus I do prefer them over unsightly electrical wires.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 7, 2012
It's all personal preference. Some like golf course homes while other buyers don't like strangers walking past their back yard.
Some like communities with lots of sidewalk traffic, others don't like the occasional litter that may fall from a stroller or bicycle.
Some find value in the risk aversion inherent is an walkable home. Others only see too many walkers.
Some see the opulence of a Tesla, others see an awesome high performance electric car.
Without a doubt, when I sell a home with solar panels they WILL appear in the benefits and attributes column along with some economic data.
Discussing solar panels with a buyer is hardly any different than the two story vs the one story. If the buyer is 30 or 55, the dialog changes. Know your buyer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Oct 7, 2012
It depends on the condition, the installer, the way they have been maintained and understood by the current owner.
Then it will depend on how you understnd and take care of them.
The idea is good though.

(Please note: when you choose an answer as a Best Answer, or at least give a thumbs up, it helps those who answer questions here.)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Oct 6, 2012
In my area there is a builder that offers a "net zero" option on their new construction. The amount of solar panels that are installed on the home allow you if you are an average user to have a zero dollar electricity bill. Thi seems to be a popular option with them.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Oct 5, 2012
You don't do it for the ROI...its about being GREEN. It is hard to justify the expense.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 4, 2012
If they save money and add to the greening of America and our universe then why not? On a purely aesthetic and personal level I'd much prefer to look at solar panels then electric power grid distribution points.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Oct 4, 2012
Logically, the savings and income generation far outweigh the aesthetics. Emotionally, that's a whole different story. I personally don't object to them on roofs, but my preference is ground mount, like I did at my own home.

Installing Solar panels is a "no brainer" in addition to the 30% Fed Tax Credit, the $1,000.00 State Tax Credit, $2K rebate, *quarterly* SREC checks for *10 years* - there is the decrease in your electric bill by what you sell back to the grid.

They pay for themselves quickly and then generate income, in addition to decreasing your electric bills.

HOWEVER you get these financial benefits only if you *own* them - renting them, the installer gets all the benefits.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2012
These panels are very different today than years ago. They are also much more efficient. It is certainly a good idea to use them to increase the efficient use of energy in the home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2012
They are a great selling point. When you tell clients about the savings in their bill it's a great market sales pitch. Solar Panels are actually becoming more and more popular.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2012
I think they are great for saving money. They aren't real easy on the eyes, but that's okay. My two cents.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2012
I just had them installed on my house
cost me nothing in fact they sent me a check fr $200. my monthly cost is $45 a month escalating to $94 in 20 years. guaranteed to save me over $110 in electrical costs per month
My home is a 2 family on 1 electric meter.
plus if my roof ever leaks they take full responsibility
It had to add value to my home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2012
I see this is an old link but figured I'd try. we live on long Island and looking into leasing solar panels for 20 years. But our company gave us a price of $129 a month..not $45. The price remains for $20 yrs. Our LIPA bill will be cut in half but lease much more than yours. We will get a $5000 government rebate...although we have to spend $3000 to cut down 2 big trees and we will plant smaller new ones. Wondering how or why our leases are so different. Did your company start at a much higher price?
Flag Fri Jul 19, 2013
No right or wrong, but imho they are detracting on the front of a house when they can be seen from the rd.. They are certainly becoming very popular and agreat selling feature when on the back or out. Of sight.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2012
The reason you see more and more of them is they are good salesman. Easy to sell someone when you say its going to save you money and wont cost you anything.

Sort of like Obama

Both should seek the advice of experts and then listen to them.

I personally don't like them and feel the reduced sales price will far out weigh any electric savings. Rather see wind turbines
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Oct 3, 2012
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