Even many decades after their invention, solar panels still look space-age cool while harnessing the sun’s heat and providing electricity to homes. However, prospective buyers who encounter homes with solar panels should ask some questions, as it’s not automatic that the panels offer instant and long-term savings. Not all homes with them reap the same benefits. Here are major things to know when considering buying a home already equipped with solar panels.
You may have to pick up the payments
The initial cost to install solar panels can be quite high, in the $20,000 range for a 2,000-sq.ft. home. If the owner has established a payment plan, they could expect you to assume it. Solar panels can also be leased, with a monthly charge that does not end. So it’s important to ask specific questions if solar panels have been installed.
Sunlight is required
To provide optimum benefits, sunlight is required to hit the panels. It is the UV light that generates the energy. If the home’s location doesn’t get much sun, the panels won’t produce much electricity. Did the seller research that to determine if solar panels were appropriate? You may have high electric bills in addition to what the panels produce.
Is the warranty still valid?
Most solar panel manufacturers provide long warranties, like 25 years. But there might be few or no years left on it, so it’s imperative to find out. Solar panels can be expensive to repair or replace. You’ll need to know if the company that sold them to the owner is still in business. And replacing them back to a standard roof is expensive as well.
Not everyone wants panels
Like a home with an inground swimming pool, some buyers seek it out while others won’t even consider it. If you think you might move up to a bigger home and sell the one you’re buying now, solar panels could be a drawback to some homebuyers. There are also upkeep, maintenance and potential repair costs that must be considered.