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THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A HOME WITH EXISTING SOLAR ENERGY

Updated: Jul 28, 2023

Planet Solar, a top solar contractor in California, is distinguished by our customer-centric philosophy in the renewable energy field. Our fundamental value of "Clients First" prioritizes our clients’ satisfaction and fulfillment above all things.

There's no denying that each client has unique energy demands and preferences, deserving hassle-free service and customized products. By closely monitoring their individualized experiences, we deliver unparalleled personalization.


Expert advice is crucial for a sound investment, so in this blog, we offer genuine advice to potential home buyers interested in purchasing a home with a pre-installed solar system. Careful evaluation of critical factors is also vital for guaranteed reliability and cost-effectiveness.



Leased or Owned System

The foremost considerations when buying a home with a leased solar system

In the case of leasing, review the lease terms carefully.

  • Who owns the lease? Are they reputable?

  • What happens if the leasing company goes out of business?

  • What are the details of the lease?

  • What is the remaining term?

  • What is the monthly payment?

  • What is the annual increase?

  • Is the current leaseholder current on the payments?

  • Is there a buy-out option? What is it?

For example, suppose the seller provides you with a $10,000 buy-out option for a house with a pre-installed solar system. If you do not accept this, you will be billed the monthly payment for the duration of the lease term, $100 a month for 20 years by the leasing company, with a 2% annual increase. This results in an overall expense of $24,000 or more.


So think twice about all the options available to make the best decision possible.


Considerations When Buying a House with an Owned System


For an owned system, it is of utmost importance what products (PV modules, type and wattage, inverter type, and accessories) were used and what the remaining warranty is. Consider:

  • Who is the solar panel manufacturer? Are they still in the solar business? Can the warranties be transferred? Is there a fee to do so?

  • Determine the local service company. Is there a transfer fee for them to continue to service the solar system? Are they still manufacturer’s reps for these panels?

  • Ask the same questions regarding the inverters. Are they still under warranty? Can it be transferred into your name and is there a charge?

  • Is the solar system monitored? Can it be reconnected when you take possession of the house?

  • Consider an inspection by a licensed solar contractor to assess the system conditions and any required work

Ask for any paperwork regarding the original solar system

The contractor should have provided the permit, plans, warranties, etc., to the original solar system owner. If they are missing, request that they get a copy from the local authorities so you can be sure of a professional installation that has passed the inspection criteria.


Check for system problems and warranty void conditions

Has the system had issues like faulty wiring, inverter malfunction, or panel degradation? Has any equipment, such as PV modules or inverters (on-grid or off-grid), been replaced through warranty?


Another critical consideration is whether someone other than the original authorized solar contractor handled it. The warranties may be void if unlicensed or unauthorized personnel carry out this procedure.



Is Roof Repair Needed? What is the Cost to Remove, Store, and Reinstall the Solar System?

Roof conditions matter a lot. Repair costs for solar system removal, storage, and reinstallation must be considered.


Suppose the roof needs repairs or replacement, such as replacing damaged shingles or fixing leaks. In that case, it may be necessary to temporarily remove the PV panels, disconnect from the electrical system, remove the mounting hardware, and carefully reinstall. The process can cost around $4,000-$10,000 or more based on system size, which is essential to consider for financial projections.


What is the annual utility bill since installation?

Understanding the annual utility bill is crucial to comprehend the energy production (kWh) and its impact on the homeowner's electricity expenses.


If you want to own a home in the Coachella Valley or the Greater Fresno area with a three-year-old solar system, enquire about the annual utility bill from the seller. If they say it's been about $500, the system generates enough energy to cover most of that homeowner’s annual electric consumption, and the owner pays merely $500 annually to cover the remaining difference. But if your lifestyle is dramatically different from the current owner, your annual consumption could be higher or lower. For example, if they are a young working couple without kids, and you have three teenagers, you will consume a lot more electricity than they do, or vice versa.


Can the system be expanded?

Solar expansion is entirely dependent on the specific installation and space availability.


Contact the experts at Planet Solar to determine if the existing system can expand or if an upgrade is necessary. Factors including roof size, the installed inverter's load capacity, and the available space for additional panels can all impact the feasibility of solar system expansion for enhanced energy requirements (kWh) or EV charging facility.


Make an Informed Decision


Make an Informed Decision


Investing in a California residential property equipped with a solar system needs a meticulous evaluation of critical factors for maximum return on investment and consistent system reliability. If you consider all these elements, chances are you will get the best deal possible and enjoy long-term savings with solar.


Since many homeowners need more technical know-how and knowledge required for solar power systems, it is highly recommended to seek the guidance of a proficient solar contractor, like Planet Solar, to get an expert solar assessment and wise advice.


Planet Solar

If you have any questions about these benefits, call one of our solar experts. We are ready to help you analyze your home, consumption, and situation. We are happy to provide all the information you will need to make an informed decision on whether or not solar is right for you.


We have two locations ready to serve you. If you are in the Greater Coachella Valley area from Palm Springs to Blythe, call us at (760) 341-1413. Our second location is in the Central Valley: in the Greater Fresno Area, call us at (559) 228-9245.


Since 2007, Planet Solar has been a pioneer in the solar panel and home battery installation industry. Our team comprises seasoned solar professionals with 30+ years in the home improvement, energy conservation and technical fields. Our company prides itself on our knowledgeable, friendly, and professional solar consultants, who will help you with all your solar needs. In Planet Solar, you have found a solar installer you can trust.


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