News regarding Tesla’s solar business has been pretty quiet lately. A lot of that likely has to do with the fact that Tesla has been focused on their cars and has not put a lot of energy (or money) into further developing it. A recent tweet by Tesla CEO Elon Musk regarding solar panels and the potential value they could add to a home, however, should be a subtle reminder that Tesla’s solar business is not out of the running just yet.
Do Solar Panels Add Resale Value?
The simple answer to this question is yes. A recent study done by the online real estate and rental marketplace Zillow revealed that homes with solar energy systems sold for an average of 4.1 percent more than similar homes without solar power. Musk echoed that sentiment in the following tweet:
Now, it does depend on a few variables. Location is one of the most important, since homes in metropolitan areas seem to have an increased demand for energy-efficient features such as solar panels. Other variables include things such as the age of the home, the size, and property square footage.
As far as Musk’s claim that a property containing a Powerwall (Tesla’s energy storage product) will have increased resale value, it is really hard to tell. There have been no studies done that can reveal such data. It stands to reason, however, that it would certainly make an existing solar energy system on a property that much more tempting for potential buyers. Their potential to reduce the impact of power outages is also a nice feature.
Are Solar Panels Worth the Investment?
Are you thinking about installing solar panels in order to increase the resale value of your home? This probably would not be the best financial decision to make– the payoff of 4.1 percent of the national median home price only comes to $9,274. According to EnergySage, a solar installation marketplace, the average system costs $18,300 before tax credits in 2019. Even after tax credits could potentially bring down the average to $12,810, the increased resale value of your home does not offset the purchase and installation costs of the system.
If you are installing it on a property that you intend to live at for a while, however, the potential energy savings over time could easily cover the cost of a solar energy system. According to Sunrun, the biggest solar installation company in the U.S., solar customers generally see an average utility bill savings of between 10 to 40 percent each month compared to standard electric utility rates. Even if you only lease the system, customer contracts include a fixed energy price per kilowatt/hour that is usually lower than traditional utility rates.
Tesla’s Solar Roof
Tesla entered into the solar energy market back in 2016 with its controversial purchase of solar panel manufacturing company SolarCity. The company is now in the process of completing its third version of the Tesla Solar Roof. The roof is expected to come with a lifetime of the house warranty and a 30-year guarantee of power generation. Tesla also produces custom fittings for their roofs to allow for a streamlined look and maximum weather-proofing, ultimately allowing the roof to look better and last longer.
Tesla aims to have the Tesla Solar Roof become as affordable as a standard composite shingle roof, at least someday. These days, a shingle roof can cost as little as $4 a square foot, while standard tiles run about $20 a square foot. Last year, Tesla’s solar tiles cost about $21.85 a square foot. With further attention made to product design and cost reduction, hopefully it can continue to bring the price down and make solar roofs more accessible for everyone.