A study by Ben Hoen, Ryan Wiser and Peter Cappers of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Mark Thayer at San Diego State University finds that, on average, the sales price of homes with PV systems is boosted enough to cover the homeowner’s own investment in the solar power system.
One might, as the Berkeley Labs’ press release does, style this as good news for PV systems (“homes with solar photovoltaic systems sell for a premium over homes without solar systems”). I guess as home improvement projects go, an investment in which homeowners on average get all their money back is pretty good — much better than the return on building a swimming pool, not as good as a minor kitchen makeover.
On the other hand, as another Berkeley Lab reports, average total installed costs of home PV systems have ranged between $7 and $10 per DC watt of capacity installed over the 2001-2009 period included in the first study’s dataset and yet the home price premium is estimated to be about $5.5 per DC watt of capacity. One might expect that taxpayer/ratepayer subsidies for home improvements would on net add to the subsidized homeowner’s value, but apparently that is not the case.