Solar panels have become increasingly popular over the last several years. In fact, the millionth solar panel system in the U.S. was installed in 2016, and experts believe that another million systems will be installed within the next two years. As a result, the real estate market is flooded with homes that have solar panels, so buyers may end up moving into a home that is powered by solar energy. But make sure you ask these questions prior to buying a home with solar panels:
Is the Solar Panel System Leased?
It’s important to find out whether the solar panel system is owned or leased. If the sellers purchased the system, they will transfer ownership of it to the buyers as part of the real estate transaction. In this scenario, the buyers will not have to pay any additional money in order to take ownership of the system. However, if the panels are leased, the buyers will need to continue making payments on the lease once they own the home. Solar panel lease payments are usually pricey, so it’s crucial that you obtain a copy of this contract before making an offer on the house.
Can I Have the System Inspected?
Most home inspectors are not trained to analyze the condition and functionality of solar panels. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to hire an inspector who is specially trained to inspect solar panels prior to closing on the home. The inspector will take an in-depth look at the various parts of the system to determine if there are any issues that affects its ability to power your home. Repairing solar panels can be costly, so identifying these issues now can help you avoid incurring unexpected expenses once you move into the home.
What Size is the System?
You should also ask your real estate agent to find out the size of the system. Why? The amount of energy that the system produces depends partly on its size. Therefore, if the system is small, it may not produce enough energy to have a significant impact on your monthly utility bills. However, if it’s a larger system, you should expect to save money on a monthly basis. Knowing this upfront can help prospective homebuyers accurately estimate their monthly expenses so they know whether or not they can truly afford to live in the home.
Who Made and Installed the System?
It’s wise to find out who manufactured and installed the system as well. Research both companies to determine if they provide warranties on their products and installation services. Many companies provide 10 to 20 year warranties on solar panel systems, which means you are covered in the event that an issue arises after you move in.
You should also read the online reviews of each company to get a better idea of the quality of their products and services. If there are a lot of negative reviews, this is a red flag that indicates you could experience problems with the solar panel system in the future.
After asking these questions, you’re ready to move forward with buying a home with solar panels! Having a solar panel system can reduce your utility bills and your carbon footprint, so it won’t be long before it becomes obvious why millions of Americans have decided to switch to solar energy!