Did you know that there’s now enough solar panels in the United States to power sixteen million homes? With such a large amount of panels out there it increases the likelihood that you may one day purchase a house with a working solar system. At first glance, this might seem like great news. After all, who doesn’t want to save money while being more environmentally friendly?
However, the unfortunate fact is that many home sellers may attempt to pass off an inferior system to unexpecting buyers. That’s why we always recommend getting a solar panel inspection before committing to a property. In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about purchasing a property with pre existing solar panels. Let’s get started!
Why Is It Important to Get a Solar Panel Inspection Before Buying a House?
The sad reality is that solar panels don’t last forever. They indeed last a long time, but by the time you purchase a new property, they may have degraded. Especially if they’ve been in use for a while before the transaction. One study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that a solar panel loses an average of 0.8% power output each year.
Keep in mind that this varies depending on the brand and climate in the area. But the reality is that it’s likely you’re inheriting a system that’s not operating at peak efficiency. As such, a solar panel inspection can help you confirm how effective the panels are, as well as an estimate on their lifespan. This in turn can help you negotiate an appropriate price for the home and solar panels.
What Should You Do When Purchasing a House With Solar Panels?
We’re not here to actively discourage you from purchasing a home with solar panels already in place. However, you should be cautious – we highly recommend having a solar panel inspection done. You can do this by following our checklist when it comes to buying a house with solar panels. Just follow these three tips and you’ll be able to get a fair deal on any pre-owned system.
1) Find Out if It’s Owned or Leased
The first question you should ask is whether the solar panels are owned or leased. If the sellers own them, then they will transfer their ownership to you once the real estate transaction comes to completion. This method is preferable because you don’t need to pay any additional money for the panels (their price is included in the valuation of the property).
The other option is to inherit the lease the old owners were in the process of paying off. This will require monthly or yearly payments (depending on the terms of the lease). Remember that the payments for a solar system can be pretty expensive. As such, some people may want to factor this into their budget constraints.
You can do this by reviewing the terms of the lease. We highly recommend you hire a legal professional if you plan on doing this. That way you’re sure that there aren’t any hidden clauses that you’re missing. If the terms don’t look favorable, then you can talk to the homeowners. Some sellers may be willing to pay off the lease or compensate you for it as a liability.
2) Research the Company That Installed the Panels
It’s recommended that you research both the company that installed the panels and the manufacturers themselves. You should research the manufacturer to see if they offer any extended warranties on their products. Many solar panels companies offer warranties that can last twenty years or more.
As such, you’ll be covered if the warranty is still active and the panels break down. You should also investigate the online reviews of both companies. Frequent negative reviews are a good sign that the product, or installation, isn’t up to quality standards.
You should take these as a red flag that something may go wrong with the system in the future. If you’re worried about this, discuss your options with the realtor. They may be able to work out an agreement with the sellers.
3) Get a Solar Panel Inspection Done With a Third Party Company
Getting the solar panels inspected can give you a good indication of their functionality. It will also tell you which components may start acting up in the future. A thorough inspection should include an analysis of the following areas:
- The state of the main breaker
- The state of the inverter
- Any connections with inverter and main breaker
- Any connection with the inverter and solar panels
- The strength of all wire nuts
- The accuracy of the monitoring system
- The stability of any rack or support pieces
They should also make sure that all the systems are up-to-date with the fire code and the building code. We don’t recommend getting the inspection done by the company that installed the product. Unfortunately, all too often solar companies are running a scam. As such, you can’t always rely on the word of the company that installed the system.
After all, they might just be trying to save a buck by lying about the state of the solar panels. Because of this, you should always insist on hiring your own, third-party company for a solar panel inspection so they can be as objective as possible.
Need Your New Solar Panels Inspected? Contact SunState Solar
We hope this article helped you learn the importance of organizing a solar panel inspection before buying a home. A simple check can help you save thousands of dollars and lots of potential headaches. But how do you find an impartial solar company to perform the inspection? If you’re searching, then look no further than SunState Solar.
We can perform a solar panel inspection and make any necessary maintenance repairs. We also install our systems, so if you want to expand on some preexisting panels, then we can help. All you need to do is contact us so you can start taking advantage of the sun’s energy today.