Can Solar Panel Installation Increase Your Home’s Value?
Solar panels for residential homes is a relatively new concept that’s quickly gaining in popularity. Not only are they good for the environment, but solar panels can also increase your home’s overall value. According to Bluewater Energy, these innovative contraptions can increase a property’s value by as much as $6,000 for every 1 kW installed.
Although the upfront costs of installation may seem high, it’s easy to see why many Canadian homeowners still believe this is a good investment. If you’re considering solar panels for your residential property, read our comprehensive guide on what this process entails.
What are solar panels?
To discover how solar panels can benefit your property, it’s important to understand how they work. Simply put, solar panels are devices that convert light into electricity. Usually, the most powerful form of light available is the sun.
A solar panel is essentially a collection of solar cells. When lots of solar cells are spread out over a large area (like a panel), they can work together to provide energy. Thus, the more light that hits a cell, the more electricity it produces. That’s why solar panels are always aimed directly at the sun.
Also known as PV panels, solar panels are helpful in many ways. They can:
Provide electricity to off-grid sites like cabins and remote workstations.
Generate power to run telecommunications equipment.
Produce electricity for municipal power grids through a government-run feed-in tariff program.
How can solar panels benefit homeowners?
In Ontario, many solar panel owners are part of the microFIT program. Part of the province’s Green Energy Act, the program is aimed at homeowners and small businesses. It provides financial incentives for individuals to invest in renewable energy production.
Participants sign a contract with the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). This contract guarantees that the IESO will buy all the electricity your solar panels produce, for 20 years, at a fixed price. The rate is paid per kilowatt hour and is reviewed every two years. As a participating homeowner, you’ll receive a cheque in the mail each month. In Toronto, this cheque is issued by Toronto Hydro.
The microFIT program provides one of the highest incentives for renewable energy production in the world. That’s why this feed-in tariff program has sparked such huge interest among Ontario homeowners, making solar panels a worthwhile consideration.
What does installation entail?
Solar panels are typically installed on the roof, so they can attract the most sunlight. Installation does not happen overnight. There’s a process that must play out before your panels can produce renewable energy.
Engineering visit: After signing your solar panel contract, an engineer will come by to ensure your home is a good property for installation. This engineer will most likely work for the installer. During this visit, he or she will evaluate the condition of your roof, and check if your electrical panel needs an upgrade.
Permits and documents: The next step is to ensure all paperwork is in good order. Luckily, a lot of this is dealt with by your solar panel installer. One of the things you’ll be applying for is your provincial solar program, run by a government regulator. The time frame for this step is mainly dependent on how quickly your installer can get the documentation together.
Choosing your solar panels: Once your paperwork is complete, the next step is to choose your solar panels and inverters. Your installer will likely recommend a particular brand, based on your home’s configuration. To ensure you’ve chosen the best equipment, research the top-rated solar panels on the market.
Installation: This is an exciting day. The installation team will arrive at your home to put the solar panels in place. They’ll begin by preparing your roof and making sure all your shingles and tiles are attached properly. Then they’ll put in all the wiring to connect your solar system to your electrical panel.
“Flipping the switch”: This final step involves connecting your solar panels to your municipality’s electrical grid. In Ontario, a representative from the IESO will visit to inspect your system and give approval. As long as there are no issues, your solar panels will go live as soon as you get the go-ahead.
How can Spectrum Realty help?
Spectrum Realty is a leading provider of real estate services in the GTA. If you’re considering solar panels for your next home, our team can help you find a property that’s optimally configured for renewable energy production. There are many factors to consider when purchasing a home. Spectrum Realty can help you assess all angles to make sure you’re making the best investment possible.
Conversely, if you’re trying to sell a home that already has solar panels, our team can help market your property effectively. Given Toronto’s status as an environmentally-conscious city, many homebuyers are looking for homes that generate renewable energy. And because microFIT contracts are transferable to the new homeowner, we can market your solar panels as an excellent source of additional income.
For more information on buying or selling real estate, call Spectrum Realty at 416-736-6500 or contact us here.