Life happens, things change, and people move on. Green Power Energy recommends to anticipate staying in your home for a minimum of 5-years to get a worthwhile benefit from your residential solar panels.
5-years would be on the short end of the spectrum when considering the standard return on investment for residential solar panels in New Jersey. Sometimes, this timeframe can be closer to 8 years depending on the particular system. For those who purchased their residential solar panels outright, there is no contract to worry about, the solar panels are a part of the house and can add value to the home price.
NREL has estimated that homes with solar panels can get 17% more value than homes without solar panels.
In New Jersey, you also have the option of keeping the SRECs for yourself or transfer them to the new homeowner. Most people will give the system and incentives to the new homeowner.
For customers with loan or lease agreements, it can be more difficult to move out of the house with a solar panel contract depending on the terms of the agreement. The good news is most residential solar agreements in NJ save the homeowners a lot of a money and the savings increase substantially over time as utility rates increase. It’s important to check with the leasing or loan finance company on the terms of their solar agreement transfer of ownership. If doing a lease, try to avoid an escalator clause that will increase the price too much in the future. If the rate is locked in at today’s rates, then 5,10, or 15 years from now, that rate will be very attractive.
What about physically moving with the residential solar panels you had installed?
It is of course possible but not the easiest way to go about it. You are likely to get more value by passing along the solar savings to the new homeowners. Why is it difficult to move with solar panels? For one, the original solar panel installation involved holes drilled into the rafters of the roof. Besides removing the residential solar equipment for reinstallation at a new location, great care must be taken to seal the holes and replace the shingles. After the equipment is removed, and the roof is properly sealed, the equipment then needs to be transported to the new location where an all new solar installation must take place. On top of just putting the old equipment on to a new roof, the state of New Jersey will count this as an all new solar installation with new permits and applications required. The money you may save on equipment will likely be lost in the cost to remove and reinstall the new equipment.
The best way to handle the prospect of moving in the future is to first invest in a residential solar project when you feel you will be in the home for awhile. One of the best times to go solar is right when you move into a new home or right when a new home is being constructed. Besides that, take care to make sure your solar lease or loan agreement has a favorable transfer of ownership clause, and that you yourself could live with the system aesthetics and financials for years to come.