Selling a home is easier now than in the darkest days of 2009, but not much. “For Sale” signs still litter yards across the country, fading in the sun. But out West, there's a glimmer of hope on that front—homes with solar photovoltaic panels installed on their roofs enjoy higher prices and stronger demand.
Researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory looked at the prices of more than 70,000 homes sold throughout California between 2000 and 2009. Roughly 2,000 of those homes boasted photovoltaic systems for turning sunlight into electricity.
The average PV system boosted home prices by roughly $17,000. Real estate value is usually measured in dollars per square foot. But PV homes employ a new metric: dollars per watt. And PV homes enjoyed a premium of $4 to $6 per watt from installed photovoltaics.
Given that it costs an average of $5 per watt to install such a system, its good news that distributed generation trendsetters are at least making their money back. In fact, some in the vanguard of the clean energy revolution are even making a profit—and that may be the greatest spur to go solar yet.