Selling a Solar Home Checklist

Selling a house with solar is pretty straightforward, but we’re here to make it even easier.

We worked with realtors to develop a Selling a Solar Home Check List to make sure you get the value you deserve.

Selling a house with solar? Following the steps below will help realtors, appraisers, lenders, and future buyers get an accurate valuation of your solar home. While we cannot guarantee your home’s proper valuation, this procedure is recommended by real estate professionals nationwide.

Please note that solar power is a foreign object to many in the real estate industry, so advocating for professionals competent in solar homes is strongly advised.

Information you should collect when selling a solar home

Have these documents prominently displayed during showings

suncommon solar installation
Solar Adds Value To Your Property, Don't Leave Money on the Table

Solar System Plans

  • Physical Layout
  • Electrical Maps

Utility Records of Energy Use

  • Example of bill(s) – a Fall bill is best as it identifies the credits accrued.

Product and Service Guarantees

  • Solar Panels
  • Solar Inverter
  • Home Energy Storage (if applicable)
  • Service Guarantee

Documents you need to complete

You have a right to a fair appraisal. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA guidelines require lenders to choose competent appraisers, i.e. those with the knowledge and experience required to perform a professional quality appraisal for your specific geographic location and property type. Refer to the following documents as you work with your lender to make sure you get the best value when selling a house with solar.

Read & fill out The Appraisal Institute’s Appraised Value & Energy Efficiency: Getting it Right to ensure your lender hires a competent appraiser.

This document acts as a guideline for communication strategies between buyers and lenders to ensure proper valuation for a home that has performance features. This document also holds the descriptions from the FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac Guidelines.

Complete the Appraisal Institute’s Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum form. This should be presented to your appraiser. If you don’t have all the information for the form, contact your solar installer for information regarding those specifications

This is a form that can be filled out by the homeowner or certified contractor to report all relevant home performance upgrades, including solar system specifications. The form can support the appraiser in making a fair valuation of the home.

Print results from PV Value Tool

The PV value tool can be used by appraisers, homeowners and real estate professionals alike to get an accurate valuation of a home solar system. There are number of system details that you should know and other metrics where a default can be used and not significantly impact the stated value.

Have a copy of a completed Home Energy Rating System (HERS) report, this is valuable if available.

Documents you need to complete

You have a right to a fair appraisal. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA guidelines require lenders to choose competent appraisers, i.e. those with the knowledge and experience required to perform a professional quality appraisal for your specific geographic location and property type. Refer to the following documents as you work with your lender to make sure you get the best value when selling a house with solar.

Read & fill out The Appraisal Institute’s Appraised Value & Energy Efficiency: Getting it Right to ensure your lender hires a competent appraiser.

This document acts as a guideline for communication strategies between buyers and lenders to ensure proper valuation for a home that has performance features. This document also holds the descriptions from the FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac Guidelines.

Complete the Appraisal Institute’s Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum form. This should be presented to your appraiser. If you don’t have all the information for the form, contact your solar installer for information regarding those specifications

This is a form that can be filled out by the homeowner or certified contractor to report all relevant home performance upgrades, including solar system specifications. The form can support the appraiser in making a fair valuation of the home.

Print results from PV Value Tool

The PV value tool can be used by appraisers, homeowners and real estate professionals alike to get an accurate valuation of a home solar system. There are number of system details that you should know and other metrics where a default can be used and not significantly impact the stated value.

Have a copy of a completed Home Energy Rating System (HERS) report, this is valuable if available.

Next, ensure competent appraisers are hired.

What can you do, you ask?

Attach supporting documents to MLS listings.

Provide documentation to the lender through a lender letter and the Residential Green Home Addendum.

While talking to an appraiser, don’t be afraid to ask, ”Do you have experience in appraising a house with solar? What training do you have?” If they have none, reach out to the lender, cancel the visit and ask for a competent appraisal in this property type.

While the appraiser is there, be there too! You and the homeowner are able to be resources to the builder, broker, agent and seller. You can provide valuable information to the appraiser with all the documents you have provided! Yes, appraisers can’t be pressured by a load officer or others involved while arrive at a value conclusion, but you can help provide the facts!


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Our Guide to Building a New House with Solar

Our Guide to Building a House with Solar

There are a lot of advantages to building a modern, efficient, and “smart” home. Pairing efficient building design with the latest technology, like heat pumps, energy efficient appliances, solar, and battery storage can reduce your energy bill significantly, or (if you opt for solar) eliminate it entirely.

building a house with solar

Building a new home?

Design with solar in mind! 

Solar is a smart addition for new homes, and SunCommon has years of experience working with contractors, builders, and architects to incorporate solar right into a home’s design. Orientation and design can have a big impact on the efficiency of the solar system, so here are some of the details to keep in mind as you start dreaming-up the plans for your new home. To download our complete guide, use the form at the bottom of the page. 

SunCommon offers a classic roof or ground solar array, a timber-framed Solar Canopy, or even integrated Tesla Solar Roof, any of which can be paired with an energy storage system.


Orientation to the Sun

An ideal roof for solar has a large surface facing south, southeast, or southwest. For a Solar Canopy or ground array, choose a sunny spot in your yard that’s flat or gently sloped, ideally within 150’ of your home’s utility room or meter. 

Obstructions & Shading

A wide-open roof is best. Obstructions like chimneys, vent pipes, dormers, and skylights can cast a shadow and limit the space available for your solar system. Tree shading will also factor in, so it’s best to have a shade-free roof from roughly 9 AM to 3 PM.

Roof Structure

To optimize solar production, a south-facing roof pitch between 30 to 35 degrees is recommended, though we can install solar on roofs up to 45 degrees. For east- or west-facing roofs, a pitch between 10 to 30 degrees is best. Any roof 10 degrees or less will require a professional structural review to verify the roof can accommodate the added weight of a system.

Roofing Material

Standing Seam Metal
These roofs are ideal because they will last as long as your solar system (25+ years). Our design team can work with your roofing contractor to install junction boxes, which will allow the wiring to be concealed and hidden. 

Asphalt Shingles
We recommend a 30-year rated shingle. Talk to your contractor about using a minimum of 1/2” OSB or ⅝” plywood sheathing on the roof. 

Corrugated Metal
Solar can only be installed on this surface when certain conditions are met. Please get in touch with us before selecting corrugated metal and we’ll discuss options that can accommodate solar. 

Tesla Solar Roof
A seamless design choice that uses solar shingles as roofing material. 

Electrical

Arguably the most important element of any solar design. Please let your electrical contractor know right away that you are planning to incorporate solar into your new build. If SunCommon is involved in the process early on, we can work with your contractor to choose equipment that is preferred for solar interconnections. 

There are several electrical components to consider as it relates to solar: service size, main service panel location, utility requirements and existing utility infrastructure.

To learn more and view specifics, complete the form below to download our complete Building a House with Solar Guide, or give us a call at 802-882-8170.

electrical boxes


Ready to get started?

Use the form below to download the complete
Building a Home with Solar Guide

1. The Roof (Azimuth)

A west-facing roof isn’t a dealbreaker anymore

Let’s start with the roof.  An ideal roof has a large, uninterrupted surface facing south, southeast, or southwest.  However, given advances in solar module technology and efficiencies that make them more affordable, a purely due-south roof is no longer a prerequisite. A well-producing solar home should have an orientation or “azimuth” within 90 degrees of true south. The closer the solar azimuth is to 180 degrees true south the better the system will produce. Roof angles are also something to consider. A roof pitch between 5 and 12 is ideal. The lower the slope, the less production you will see in the winter.

A good roof for solar is an empty roof; uninterrupted. That means keep your chimneys, vent pipes, dormers, and skylights away from that nice big southern expanse! We can work around these things if we have to, but if you want to maximize production, have wide-open spaces.

2. Trees

Shade on panels means less production

When you’re deciding where you want to put your home on your land it is best to avoid any trees on the solar side.  Planting a gorgeous maple in front of your array will mean shadowed solar panels in a few years.  Go ahead and tuck the northern side of your home into the trees, but any tree that casts a shadow on your solar roof for any significant portion of the day is no good for your system’s production.

3. Roof Material

Anything but cedar and slate

Roof composition really matters when building a house with solar. Asphalt shingles or metal roofs are great, slate and cedar shingles are a no go.

With asphalt roofs, it is important to choose a shingle that will last as long as your solar system. A 30-year rated shingle would be best. A minimum 3/8” sheathing on the roof is recommended. Standing seam metal roofs are ideal because the roof material will last as long as your solar system. Corrugated metal roofs are also an option. Our solar attachments are happiest if your corrugated is installed directly on top of plywood decking.

4. House Electrical

A benefit of incorporating solar into your new construction is that we will often be able to integrate the wire or pipe run into your building. We will work with you or your contractor on the specifics to make sure that you get a high-producing and aesthetically-pleasing solar system.

Our licensed electricians can run conduit and wire while your walls are open. Then, as soon as you have a roof, we’ll be happy to come out, install your solar system and celebrate with you as your meter runs backwards.

5. PV Systems Add Weight

A standard PV system adds less than 3lbs per square foot on the roof. Making sure your roof can support this weight across the house is important and your contractor should be able to factor this added weight into the design.

6. What We Need From You

In order to facilitate a Design and a cost estimate for your PV system, we will need some information about your project. Some of the things we will need are:

  • Contractor Phone Numbers (if any)
  • Design/ Architectural Drawings
  • Structural Information
  • Electrical Information
  • Building Timeline

To summarize, when building a house with solar, you want a roof that is unshaded and free of obstructions such as dormers, chimneys, or skylights; made of solar-friendly materials such as metal or asphalt shingle; and structurally supported by accounting for the weight of the panels and leaving room for the necessary electrical work to connect the panels to your circuitry.

We hope this information will be useful while you work on your home. Remember these are strictly recommendations and you should build your home to how you prefer it. If you (or your contractor) have any questions about how to better integrate your new home project into the solar system, our engineering team will be happy to assist you!

Have any specific questions, we’re happy to answer them here or via email.

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Is My Future Home Good for Solar?

The home buying process can be long and difficult, but we want to make it easy to know if your future home will be a good spot for solar. Even if you haven’t bought the home yet, we can use satellite imagery and advanced software to check the property and explain your solar options.

We can check your future property for the following solar solutions:

Rooftop Install Graphic Circle

Roof Mounted Solar Systems

ground mount solar circle graphic

Ground Mounted Solar Systems

solar canopy circle graphic

Solar Canopy

Enter the addresses of the properties you would like us to check and provide your contact information below. We usually follow up within a business day or so (it takes some time to check a few properties).

Can solar work for you?
Find Out
Where should we send your results?
We have our team of advisors looking at your address to figure out if solar will work for you. Please provide your information below so that we can contact you and give you the results of our solar check.
Submit
Thank you for your submission
Someone will be in touch shortly. If you would like to expedite the process of going solar, and get scheduled for a home visit, please click here to provide additional information about your home.

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Are You Selling Your Solar Home?

Your home with solar has value! Additional value! On average, adds 4.1% to the value of your home and solar homes sell up to 17% faster! We are dedicated to helping existing and prospective SunCommon solar homeowners understand the value of their solar and their ability to market it at resale.

We, SunCommon, have a team of experts working in the field, staying up-to-date on research and working with local real estate professionals. We have trained over 200 realtors since 2017 and have stayed in touch with folks who are excited, enthusiastic and knowledgeable in selling solar homes. There are many realtors throughout the state who we have identified as SunCommon’s preferred  solar real estate professionals.

 

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Solar Resources for Real Estate Professionals

We’ve educated over 200 Realtors through our 2 hour Continuing Education course with the Vermont Board of Realtors.

Are you curious with how solar works? Do you know the difference between leased solar systems and host-owned solar systems? Wondering how solar increases home value? Find out when the next Solar 101 is happening, earn professional development credit and join the leading edge of real estate professionals….

Want to educate your team?

One of our educators can come and provide a short 15 min, 30 min, or 1-hour presentation for your realtors. Email us at organizers@suncommon.com to connect with your local community organizer.

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Want to Increase the Value of your Home? Go Solar.

solar increase home value in new york and vermont

It’s True: Solar Increases Home Value

Residential solar by the numbers.

Over two million (2,000,000) homes are now powered by the sun

In 2016, America’s millionth solar system was installed. Three years later, in 2019, that number climbed to two million, and it just keeps growing. We’re thrilled to play a part in this rapidly increasing market: SunCommon is installing solar at a pace of roughly 40 homes every week, and not a day goes by that we aren’t grateful for helping so many people go solar easily and affordably.

But there’s one benefit to going solar that a lot of folks don’t know about yet. Yeah, you’ll zero out your electricity costs with nothing but renewable energy drawn from our brilliant sun. And yeah, you’re going to contribute to a reduced carbon footprint that ensures future generations get to enjoy the environment like we do.

But guess what else? Solar increases home value — yours included.

More solar installations than any other installer in the area

On average, U.S. homes with solar sell for 4.1% higher than those without

What does that translate to in dollars and cents? That depends on where you live and the size of the system. For example, if you’re in New York, it’s substantial: solar adds an average of $41,000 in home value. Yep, you read that right!

If you’re going to do any home improvement project, studies show that solar gives the best return on investment. When you install granite kitchen counters or fancy bathrooms, you’ll get back just a fraction of your investment at resale, but folks who go solar get paid back in full when they sell their house. Plus, since our solar panels carry a 25-year warranty and continue to produce power long after that, solar carries a value no matter when you decide to sell your home.

The market is seeing more solar homes as solar becomes a common way to power homes. Buyers are increasingly excited if there is a new solar system installed at a property.
Susan ZakFour Seasons Vermont/Sotheby’s Real Estate

Going solar now means you’ll have what future home buyers want and need

Here’s why solar increases home value: many home-shoppers know that houses equipped with solar power can provide substantial future energy cost savings, so they’re willing to pay more up front in order to reap future savings. Younger generations, too, value purchases like solar that benefit the environment. According to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report, “more than 80% of home buyers say energy-efficient features are important.” Going solar now means you’ll have what a future home buyer wants and needs.

Not only does solar help your home sell for more, it also helps it sell faster. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homes with energy efficient features and solar power sell faster than those without. So when you’re harnessing the power of the sun, you’ve got a hot cake of a home on your hands!

Ready to speak with an expert about increasing your home’s value with solar?


VT Solar Home | Barre Town

Don’t just take our word for it

Solar is no longer a niche market — it’s a growing housing trend here in the Northeast, and the exponential progression from niche to necessity is creating competitive real estate opportunities. Today’s homebuyers are increasingly seeking out solarized homes, and real estate agents and homeowners alike can attest to it:

We listed our home higher than the competitive market analysis and it sold quickly. To be under contract within a week certainly surprised us. Solar was definitely a selling point. Not having to pay an electric bill is pretty valuable! Our realtor was shocked we sold at full ask, and so quickly. I’d sell a solar home again!
Laurie FrancisSolar homeowner

“Does solar help sell a home? Does solar increase home value? For most, a resounding yes!”

– Clayton Paul Cormier, Maple Sweet Real Estate

Over the past few years, I made a ton of changes to my home to make it more efficient and sustainable — solar panels, heat pumps, weatherization, new windows, you name it. At the time, I wasn't planning on moving and so did all of the upgrades knowing that they'd pay off over time. As it turns out, life changes and I was ready to move faster than I'd planned! I put the house on the market, hoping to get value for all that I’d invested in the house but not sure if buyers would agree. Much to my surprise, I had multiple interested buyers and accepted an offer within 1 week! The buyers knew they wanted an environmental and efficient home, and they were prepared to do the upgrades themselves; finding a home that already had solar and the other work was perfect for them! I knew that my efficiency upgrades would pay for themselves over time. What I didn’t expect, but was very happily surprised to find, was that they also paid for themselves in resale value.
Sivan CotelStonecutter Spirits

We’re Here to Help You Buy or Sell Your Solar Home

To help existing and prospective SunCommon solar homeowners understand the value of their solar and their ability to market it at resale, we created a guide to selling your solar home that’s useful for solar homeowners and realtors alike – check it out here. Our mission is to re-power our state with clean energy, so we strive to do all that we can to make the experience great for you!

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Studies Show Solar Boosts Home Values

Vermonters looking to go solar often ask us at SunCommon about the effect on their home’s value.  For most of us, our biggest lifetime investment is our home and we naturally want to protect it.  There’s a lot to like about going solar, and building on your home investment is one of them.

Here are three ways that solar should be a real amenity when it comes time to sell your house:

1)   Selling price.

A big study by the respected Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory across 9 years of home sales in California found that those with PV systems sold at a significant price premium compared to similar homes without solar.  In fact the average bump was equivalent to the total price of the original solar system.  Wow.  Folks who install granite kitchen counters or fancy bathrooms get back just a fraction of their investment at resale.  But folks who go solar — with all the benefits to their family, community,  environment and monthly finances – get paid back in full when they sell their house according to this study.

2)   Property taxes.

Vermont law passed last year prohibits taxing most PV systems.   Simply, solar systems up to 10kW can’t increase your property tax bill.  And even a big system of 10kW would only ease up your annual property tax bill by $4 dollars per kW.

3)   Locked in monthly cost.

When it comes time to sell the home, imagine telling a prospective buyer that (if  the system were lease financed) they’ll have electricity locked in at 2013 or (if the system were purchased) they’ll have no monthly electric bill due to their solar.  Compared to other homes they’re looking at, the solar home will shine as real money saver.

Imagine your monthly utility bill for electricity was $125.  Through SunCommon, your monthly bill can be less each month, locked in for 20 years.  So you save every month, and even more as utility rates go up compared to your fixed solar payment.  And this study says even after saving every month, when you sell your home later you could recoup the entire purchase price of your solar system as well.

We’re proud that SunCommon can help most Vermont homeowners go solar with no upfront cost and a monthly payment less than what you were paying your utility.

Now it looks like there’s a payoff when you sell your home too.

Can solar work for you?
Find Out
Where should we send your results?
We have our team of advisors looking at your address to figure out if solar will work for you. Please provide your information below so that we can contact you and give you the results of our solar check.
Submit
Thank you for your submission
Someone will be in touch shortly. If you would like to expedite the process of going solar, and get scheduled for a home visit, please click here to provide additional information about your home.

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