If people can make an investment and save on their utilities that is awesome but we have serious concerns. Before you decide, get info from multiple solar vendors and educate yourselves by talking to professionals outside the solar panel industry – insurance rep, appraiser, REALTORs (like Jack and I), mortgage lenders.
Here are some questions and concerns we have:
What happens when you sell your house?
There is no guarantee that buyers will want solar panels and certainly no guarantee that they will assume your payments if you are on a pay out plan! If you put them on the front of your home count on losing many buyers who believe it hurts the curb appeal.
If you have financed them and need to sell before the panels are paid for (how many of us stay put for 20 years?) then what will happen? The Solar energy company probably has a lien on your home that you will have to pay out of the proceeds from the sale of your home.
What if you don’t have enough equity in your home to cover the pay out of the solar panels? Then you can’t sell your home for what is due and may end up being a short sale which can damage your credit and hurt the home values of your neighborhood.
Will solar panels add to the value of your home? Probably NOT. We have talked to appraisers here in Lubbock and REALTORs in other regions where solar panels have been installed. If your panels are leased they add NO value. If they are owned they may still add nothing or might add a small percentage of your investment. Best case scenario that we found was $5000.00 value given for a $20,000.00 investment.
What happens when hail damages your roof?
We did research and found that if your roof needs to be replaced, taking the panels down and reconnecting them costs from 1500.00 to 6000.00 depending on size of your home and number of panels. Will the same company who sold you the panels be around to perform this task for you or will roofing companies have the ‘know how’ and skills to manage it?
Predatory Sales? Are salespeople saying the next buyer will pay for the panels, pick up the payments? Are they saying the panels add value? If so, they are being disingenuous. Are they targeting neighborhoods with younger home owners with less life experience who are very mobile, likely to move in 4 – 8 years, before the panels are paid for.
How will the solar panels impact your homeowners insurance rates? We have asked and found that is still evolving, an unknown.
Will utility company (LP&L) write you a check for the overage if there is some? The answer is no for now.
In summary, if you are interested in energy savings, do take a look at the solar energy option but please do your due diligence and take a look at the big picture before you make that decision.