There are many advantages to buying a home with solar panels already installed. You get the benefits of significantly savings on your utilities but there can be downsides too. For example, if the seller bought them outright then you will own them when you buy the home. However, if the solar panels are leased, then you will have some responsibility.
To learn more about what you need to know before putting an offer in on a home with solar panels, keep reading. Then reach out to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices at (310) 373-0021 for additional tips for buying a home.
1. Are the solar panels owned or leased?
If the panels are owned then you are good to go. If they are leased, then you will need additional details about the contract. You will need to find out what the monthly fees are and how long the contract is for. A lease for solar panels can last from ten to twenty years and it may be quite expensive to buy out the system or roll the lease into the purchase price.
In some cases, the solar lease can have escalating payments, which can cost significant money as time goes on. Make sure you ask to review the contract before you finalize the sale.
2. Who made the solar panels?
Find out who the solar panel manufacturer was and do some research into them. The best scenario is that the panels were built in the United States because this means they are covered by the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. This Act protects you from misleading warranty terms.
3. Who installed the solar panels?
Next, find out what company installed the solar panels. They can be the highest quality panels in the world, but if they were not properly installed then they are not likely to last as long as they should. Most solar panel installation companies should offer a warranty. Ideally, the warranty will be for ten years and will transfer to you when you buy the property.
4. What’s the size of the solar system?
The size of the system itself will have a big impact on how much it can save you on your monthly utility bills. When you are making a budget, you will need to know how much power it generally generates. You can ask the seller for previous energy bills to get proof of what it can do, or you can ask for more details about the system to find out the number of kilowatts it produces.
5. Is net metering offered by the utility company?
Net metering allows you to sell any excess electricity your system products back to the grid. If it is offered where you are buying a home, then it can lower your monthly bills even more. Just remember that some months may produce more excess solar power than others.