There are many opinions about solar power. And, full disclosure, I installed owned solar panels on my roof – not for everybody, but I am very happy with the decision.
Many of the homes in PebbleCreek have solar panels, but as you evaluate the value of a home with solar, some questions to ask are:
ARE THE PANELS OWNED OR LEASED? If the panels are owned, they will generally (but not always) transfer with the house. The new owner would not expect regular bills from the solar company, although there could be maintenance costs. There will still be a monthly payment to the electric company for the connection to the grid, billing and so forth. As I type, that bill is about $20 a month.
If the panels are leased, and the lease is not pre-paid, a new owner can expect to pay regular monthly bills to the solar company for the remainder of the lease. Depending on how the lease documents are written, a new owner might also need to qualify to take over the lease.
If the panels are leased, but the lease is pre-paid, then the owner would not expect regular bills from the solar company for the remainder of the lease.
It is also possible that our local electric utility, APS, has placed panels on the roof and is paying the homeowner a fixed monthly amount of “rent” for the roof space.
In all cases, it is very important to get copies of the solar documents and review the details!
HOW MUCH ELECTRICITY HAVE THE PANELS BEEN GENERATING? As I said before, even with solar panels, there is a monthly bill just to have an electric meter and be connected to the grid. But beyond that, there could be a charge for electricity. After all, every one uses electricity differently – and the panels may not generate enough energy to cover your particular electric needs. When evaluating a home with solar panels, it is a good idea to get a copy of a year’s worth of electric bills from the current owner and to look at the solar documents to see what kind of guarantees there are (if any) on the amount of electricity that will be generated. (Note that the heaviest electric usage is in the summer… so, when looking at past electric usage, it is important to know how the house has been used in the summer.)