Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Q: I am really keen on adding solar panels to our house but my husband says they will not add value to the house when it’s time to sell. He says it takes years to get payback on solar energy.

I’m discouraged but I really love the idea of free energy from the sun. Any comments?

A:  First, let me say that solar panels do, indeed, add value to your home. Particularly in the Northwest and even more so on Vashon Island, buyers are aware of alternative energy sources and value solar power. Homes that have the panels are far more impressive and desirable to buyers, and they will pay more. According to recent studies by the National Bureau of Economic Research and another one by the University of California at Berkeley’s Lawrence National Laboratory, among others, solar panels have a “sizable” impact on the sale price of homes. People will pay more for homes equipped with solar panels.

We just had an energy fair here on the island a few weeks ago. If you had attended, you would have met many experts. You also would have had a chance to talk to some local folks about how much they are saving on their month to month energy bills with solar panels. Our local credit union offers special loans for installation of solar panels and several local businesses sell and install them. They can all help convince your husband that this is a good idea. You will also be doing your part to end our dependence on oil.