When we ran our home improvement survey last year, four in 10 homeowners were planning on making their home more eco-friendly, while 14% indicated they wanted to install solar panels.
Another Porch study from last year also suggested that Americans across the country, especially those living in small and medium-sized cities, were investing in household solar installations.
This time, we’ve surveyed homeowners to find out how much homes with solar panels tend to cost. Do they cost more or less than homes without solar installations? In addition, we analyzed the data from real estate listings in 175 U.S. cities, to gain a larger perspective of the solar-powered real estate market. Here’s a look at what we found.
- Homes that have solar panels equipped cost an average of $680,000, some 48% more than the average home in a given area
- Solar energy-powered homes come at the highest premium in Pensacola, FL, where they cost $615,000 – 3.5x the average home price in the city
- Billings, MT was the only city we found where homes with solar panels ($170,000) were worth less than homes without them ($286,000), by 41%
- Compared to an average home price, homes with solar panels are cheapest in Plano, TX, worth $380,000 – only 1% higher than the average price in that area
- Houses with solar panels are most common in Manteca, CA (33% of all listings) and rarest in Philadelphia, PA (0.3% of listings)
A Rare Delight: How Common Are Homes with Solar Panels on the Market?
In the cities we selected for analysis (see methodology), roughly one in 20 (5%) of the homes listed are at least partially powered by solar.
While it’s a relatively high ratio, it’s worth noting that solar-powered homes aren’t spread equally across the United States, and it’s likely that cities in one particular state are dragging this ratio up. This state is California, where the percentage of homes with solar panels reached an average of 9%, higher than any other state.
“Texas is where homes powered by solar are often cheaper. Of the 10 cities with the lowest average price of a home which includes solar panels, five are in Texas.”
By contrast, in Florida, whose 26 cities made it into our study, the percentage of homes using solar power within all the sales listings is only 1%. Elsewhere, cities in Arizona and New Jersey list roughly 4% of homes for sale using solar.
Eco-friendly at a Price: How Much Do Homes with Solar Panels Cost?
Across the 175 cities we profiled, the average price of a home with solar panel installation is $680,000, which is nearly 50% more than the price of an average listing in these areas.
Texas is where homes powered by solar are often cheaper. Of the 10 cities with the lowest average price of a home which includes solar panels, five are in Texas. These cities include Arlington, El Paso, and Odessa.
“Unlike pools…there seems to be a statistical consensus that solar panels do add value to their home.”
The cheapest such homes overall though, are in Billings, MT, where they cost $170,000. Not only is that cheapest among the cities we analyzed, it’s also 41% cheaper than an average home in the city ($286,000)!
Where are solar-powered homes at their most expensive? That would be the Golden State, and it’s no contest. The top 25 cities with the priciest homes with solar are in California. In 21 of them, homes with solar panels have an average price tag of over $1,000,000.
In the least affordable of them, Sunnyvale, these homes go for over $2,000,000 – 16% over the already high estimate of $1,774,000, which is what an average home in this city costs you.
Sun Sells: Homes with Solar Panels list 56% above Average Home Price
Our findings show that across the cities with a statistically representative amount of solar-powered homes among their sales listings, solar panel homes were priced 48% higher than an average listing in the corresponding area.
“The top 25 cities with the priciest homes with solar are in California.”
Many of the cities where homes with solar installations cost the most, compared to the average home price, are in Florida.
In Pensacola, FL, for example, the average sales listing with solar panels is priced at $615,000, which is 3.5 times the average home price of $174,000 in the same area. Other cities in the Sunshine State where solar-powered homes come at the highest premium are Jacksonville, FL (+172%), Boca Raton, FL (+147%), and Pompano Beach, FL (+147%).
Elsewhere where the solar price differentiator is most significant is in St. Louis, MO and Hartford, CT, where homes with solar installations cost three times as much as a typical home in these cities.
Conversely, most cities where homes with solar installations are on-par with the price of an average home in that area are in Texas and California. Both in Plano, TX and Santa Monica, CA, houses with solar power are only 1% more expensive than an average home in these cities.
And notably, in Honolulu, HI – a place many associate with ample sunshine – homes with solar panels cost just 3% more than a typical house in the capital of Hawaii.
Do Solar Panels Add Value to a Home?
Unlike swimming pools, there seems to be a statistical consensus that solar panels do add value to their home.
A study out of Zillow from 2019 puts that value-add at 4.1%, meaning a home with solar panels will likely fetch a marginally higher price than a comparable home without solar panels (i.e., a home in the same area, same size, same condition, and same number of bedrooms).
“…across the cities with a statistically representative amount of solar-powered homes among their sales listings, solar panel homes were priced 48% higher than an average listing in the corresponding area.”
Another study cited by Homelight suggests that solar panels add $20 value to your home for every $1 saved in energy bills (e.g., if solar panels save $100 on energy bills, the home would be worth $2,000 more).
And according to an investigation by The Solar Nerd, solar installation can add as much as $56,000 to the value of your home, depending on the size of the installation, the savings it enables, and whether you own it outright.
It appears that solar panels, despite environmental advantages and potential long-term savings, remain a feature of homes towards the expensive side of the price spectrum.
If you’re thinking about making your home friendlier to the environment while saving money on energy bills and potentially adding value to your home, check out our guide to solar panel installation and all the considerations this move entails.
Sources and Methodology
From the city population estimates produced by the U.S. Census Bureau, we took the top 500 most populated cities in the U.S. and tallied up their current sales listings and average price in the area using Trulia, a licensed real estate brokerage firm.
Only the cities with at least five homes with solar panels listed for sale were included in the final dataset, which contains 175 cities spanning 29 states, and the District of Columbia.
Illustrations: Catalina Parra