Green Home

Solar Powered Houses: What to Consider Before Buying

Green energy is a hot trend. From solar panels to wind turbines, green energy has become efficient and small enough for home installation. A few minor precautions specific to solar powered homes should be taken before buying.

Home buyers should ask questions and make sure everything is in writing. If the homeowner had a professional install the solar panels, check for a receipt. Look into what kind of references the professional has. The installer should have experience specifically with solar panels. The specifications for the solar panels and output should be examined. Older model solar panels may not generate the same amounts of power that new solar panels can.

The home’s location should also be considered by buyers. For example, a seller should not charge a premium for the solar panels if the home is located in a frequently cloudy area. Solar panels that only are outputting 10% or 15% of their capacity may cost home buyers a lot of effort to maintain without much return.

If the solar panels are being leased, buyers should be sure they know who is responsible for maintenance or any problems. Depending upon the company, liability for the solar panels may rest with the company or the homeowner. Lease terms may or may not be favorable for the homeowner. Buyers should be careful about assuming a lease for solar panels.

Buyers should ask about Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Although not all solar powered homes are LEED certified, most new home models with solar panels are or should be. Because of the rigorous certification process, a LEED certified home should be considered above a home without the certification. LEED certification typically signifies a home with significant energy savings. For home buyers who are looking to stay in a home for a period of decades, a LEED home should definitely be considered.

Solar panels typically need to be maintained every year. This is especially true in locations where the weather is variable. Rain and snow can keep solar panels from producing their maximum output. Other weather conditions like hail can leave damaged solar panels. Prospective buyers should ask who maintained the solar panels and how regularly they did so. Buyers should be aware of what they may have to do to keep the solar panels clean and in optimum condition.

Before closing the deal on the home, buyers should ask if a neutral solar panel professional can come and examine the home. If the seller declines, this should be a red flag. Solar panels will need be in excellent working condition for a period of years in order for them to pay off. If the solar panels give out soon after buying the home, it can be an expensive repair. A neutral professional can determine whether the solar panels are in good condition. If they do suggest any repairs, the seller should be willing to accommodate reasonable requests. Necessary major repairs should be completed by the seller before closing on the house.

Solar panels are not a replacement for electric or natural gas power. Except in extremely rare homes, solar power should be considered a supplement to other power sources. They can help deliver clean energy to the home and lessen the draw on the utility company. In some cases, the utility company will even pay for excess solar energy if the home is properly connected to the energy grid. Solar panels can be an excellent extra for savvy home buyers if they are installed and maintained properly.

With the proper precautions, a solar powered home is no more likely to have problems than any other type of home. The money saved from the utility bill can be used for personal use. Homeowners will also be able to take pride in the knowledge that they are protecting the earth. A little caution can turn a solar powered home into a great investment.