Solar Home – ( Solar Thermal Magazine ) -SACRAMENTO – A new online tool launched today by the California Energy Commission now helps the housing market evaluate the value of solar on California homes. The Solar Advantage Value Estimator (SAVE) will give the industry a long term and cost-effective method for calculating the added value of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on new and existing solar homes.
“This changes the perception of solar in the housing industry that benefits homeowners. California solar homes are essential to meet California’s New Solar Homes Partnership goals and renewable energy mandates. Today’s changing real estate market requires a credible method to determine a home’s value with solar and this tool is an example of California’s leadership to develop new methods to cultivate clean energy,” said Energy Commission Commissioner Carla Peterman.
SAVE calculates the value of a solar PV system on a new or existing solar home including the estimated value in annual energy savings. The tool uses the homeowner’s unique address and zip code, the solar system size, specific climate zone data, and local electric utility rates. The solar PV system information is captured from existing solar rebate data including the Energy Commission’s New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) and the Emerging Renewables Program. The information can also be entered by the user. Once the three-step calculation is complete, the user receives a present value amount for their solar PV system. Real estate professionals, appraisers, and builders can connect this information to potential homebuyers who may be deciding to ‘Go Solar,’ or to homeowners who are selling their solar homes.
The Energy Commission released a market research* study in 2009 that revealed support for built-in solar electric systems in newly constructed homes that has not declined among new homebuyers despite economic pressures. SAVE was developed through a coordinated effort of appraisers, realtors, and public/private stakeholders. As of May 2011, the NSHP applications represent more than 15,223 new energy efficient solar homes and approximately 30 megawatts of solar capacity.
For more information about SAVE and a list of Frequently Asked Questions, visit: www.gosolarcalifornia.ca.gov/tools/calculators.php
*The NSHP market research was conducted by an independent contractor, Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Associates, from March to May, 2007, and in June and November, 2008 and October, 2009.