All about buying or selling a home with solar panels

buying or selling a home with solar panels

Are you considering buying or selling a home with solar panels? Solar power has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its environmental benefits and potential cost savings.

But before you consider moving to solar power, it’s important to understand the implications it can have on the buying and selling process.

From evaluating the financial impact to considering factors that affect property value.

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, this article will provide you with valuable insights and tips to navigate the world of solar-powered homes.

Should you buy a house with solar panels?

The cost of national grid energy continues to increase. We believe that it makes financial sense to buy a house that already has solar panels installed.  

If you also take into account, the environmental benefit of solar panels then this is another great reason to purchase a property that has fully owned solar panels.

The aesthetics of solar panels have improved over the years. The latest black solar panels with black frames make them look much sleeker and less of an eye sore.

Installing solar panels on your property no longer turns off buyers.

Solar panels owned by the homeowner

You should ensure the seller fully owns the solar panels. Some panels installed since 2010 were by solar companies seeking to benefit from the then-generous government feed-in tariff.

It is important to inform your mortgage company about the presence of solar panels on the property. Typically, they will request proof of accreditation from the company. They will also require confirmation of approval from the local authority for their placement, where applicable.

What about the solar panel money savings?

According to the moneysavingexpert.com site a typical 3.5 kilowatt-peak solar system will pay for itself in energy savings in around 15 years.

The time taken depends on how much energy you use and if you can take advantage of the Smart Export Scheme too.

Buying a home with panels already installed will save you around £8000 on buying and having them installed yourself. You will be saving money on your energy bills from the day you move in!

There are other ways to maximize the benefits of solar panels. Further details can be explored in our article on Octopus Agile and GivEnergy Battery Storage.

The environmental benefits of buying or selling an home with solar panels

People are becoming more environmentally conscious and thinking about their Carbon footprint.

Whether you are buying or selling a home with solar panels, you need to know how green they are. On average, they contribute to a reduction of about 15%, saving over one tonne of the six tonnes of Carbon Dioxide emitted by the average home annually.

If you are able to charge and run an EV, then the saving is even greater.

Should you buy a house with leased solar panels?

After 2010, numerous solar panels were installed at no cost by solar power companies. These companies were aiming to take advantage of the government’s generous Feed-in Tariff scheme.

Homeowners granted these companies a roof lease, typically for 25 years, in exchange for the installation of solar panels.

While such schemes are no longer available, for those who accepted free panels, the roof lease persists.

This can pose challenges when seeking a mortgage, as lenders are hesitant to finance a property with a roof leased to a third party.

The documentation you will need to buy a home with solar panels

If you want to buy a property with leased solar panels you should obtain a copy of the lease before you commit to survey.

What documentation do I need to provide or receive when buying or selling a house with solar panels?

Type of paperworkDescription
Proof of identityTo confirm ownership of the property.
Land RegistryThis is the title deed that confirms that you are the owner of the property.
Leasehold documentIf the property is leasehold there must be a lease document.
Planning permission/Building RegsAny changes that require planning permission or building regs should be included in selling/buying paperwork
Gas Safe CertificateThis is required for any Gas appliances.
Electrical ChecksA Part P Building regulation certificate is required if you have extended or amended the wiring in your property.
EPCYou are legally obliged to get an EPC before putting your property on the market.
Buildmark – NBCFor all new builds and properties less than 10 years old there must be a copy of the Buildmark – NBC
FENSA/CERTASS/DGCOSThese are provided when new windows/uPVC doors/composite door/conservatories/garage doors are installed.
Guarantees or other warrantiesIf you have any electrical products included in the sale, the warranties/guarantees should also be provided e.g. for Solar Panels, Inverters, Solar Batteries or EV Chargers.
Correct as at Jan 2024

You will also need:

  • Documentary evidence to show the installation company was MCS accredited.
  • Evidence that the installation was approved and also insured.
  • Additional evidence that states you can take off the panels without facing penalties for unpaid Feed-in Tariff payments.

If the solar panel company’s documentation does not align with official guidelines, finding a willing lender may be challenging.

A buy-out clause might be possible. This enables the property owner to settle the installation cost, along with a fee, to conclude the lease and acquire complete ownership of the panels.

You can request the seller to arrange the buy-out with the solar company between the exchange and completion stages.

You should always take legal advice from a solicitor who will be able to go through the lease and provide you with legal advice.

Things you need to find out when purchasing a house with solar panels

Prior to purchasing a home with solar panels, ensure that you have all the necessary information to make an informed decision.

The age of the system

If the property you’re buying already has solar, it spares you the effort of installing one yourself. However, if the system is 10 to 20 years old, assess whether the house price appropriately reflects its age.

During the initial surge of solar installations from 2010 to 2012, some homeowners acquired substandard systems to quickly capitalise on the FIT scheme.

These hastily installed and inadequately regulated systems likely featured polycrystalline PV panels, which are less efficient and produce less energy.

What is warranty on the solar panels?

Typically, a solar panel warranty last for 25 years.

If the expiration is approaching, you’ll continue to benefit from free, income-generating energy until then, but it’s a point worth considering.

If the system on the home has solar batteries the warranties on them can vary and can be anything from 5 years to 15 years.

All manufacturers and importers are required to join a Producer Compliance Scheme, like the government-approved PV CYCLE, ensuring proper recycling of all panels.

European Union regulations still mandate manufacturers and importers to accept your panels for disposal, so you don’t have to worry about their disposal when the time comes.

Are the solar panels securely installed and appropriately connected?

When considering the purchase of a home with solar panels, ask for information on the installation contractor and post-installation certification.

The house surveyor must inspect the panels to confirm proper installation and functionality. Ensuring the panels operate correctly is vital, especially for SEG scheme benefits. Also, obtain recent SEG payment details to gauge the solar panel system’s energy export.

Another question you could ask is Do the solar panels have Pigeon-proofing. This is a system around the edge of your panels that prevents birds getting under them and potentially damaging them.

Does the system include solar batteries?

When moving to solar energy, most households choose to include solar batteries in their systems. This wasn’t always the case though, so you should find out all about the system set-up.

Solar batteries store any excess energy generated by solar panels and enable homeowners to use it in the evenings instead of relying on the National Grid for all their energy.

Buying or selling a home with solar panels

Solar systems can include any number of batteries. You should be interested in finding out about how many and what type they are as more modern batteries such as the GivEnergy batteries enable you to take advantage of Agile Smart Tariffs.

Their costs, warranties, sizes and installation location vary, it is essential to find out about these aspects.

If the solar system doesn’t include a battery or the number of batteries isn’t sufficient for your family’s energy needs. Don’t dismay, you can have additional batteries retrofitted to most solar panel systems. Find out more from SolarGain.

Does the system include an EV charger?

Many people looking to buy a home with solar panels often already have an Electric Vehicle. If the home has an existing EV charger this can be an additional selling point.

Do solar panels increase the value of your home?

Solar panels can enhance your home’s value. According to Solar Energy UK’s “The Value of Solar Heat” report, solar panels contribute to an increased resale value of homes by as much as 2% .

There is growing interest among buyers in properties that provide energy efficiency and sustainable solutions. Although the increase may not cover the full original investment most households have already benefitted from the solar panel system.

An average property cost in the UK costs about £310,000 so an increase in value of 2% represents an additional £6,200 on the sale price.

Another benefit of solar panels is that they can increase the Energy Performance Certificate rating by as much as 15 points!

Can I take my solar panels with me when I move house?

You have the option, but why choose it when the cost would exceed that of a new system? There is no technical barrier to relocating your solar system to your new house. Nevertheless, opting to buy a home with pre-existing panels or installing a new system yourself is a more straightforward approach.

Transporting the panels requires scaffolding for removal, transportation, and reinstallation at your new home.

This entire process must be conducted by an MCS registered fitter, and the costs involved might be nearly as much as acquiring a new system – making it impractical.

Image showing solar panels on a roof and their fixings

How to market your home with solar panels to buyers.

Maximizing Your Home’s Value with Solar Panels: Key Selling Tips

Consider these vital tips when selling a home with solar panels to enhance its value and appeal to potential buyers.

1. Gather Essential Documentation

First and foremost, ensure you have all necessary documentation readily available. Potential buyers will seek proof of ownership, warranties, and any permits or certifications related to the solar panels. This establishes trust and indicates professional installation.

2. Emphasize Financial Benefits

Highlight the financial advantages of having solar panels. Provide potential buyers with information on expected energy savings. This showcases the long-term value of the investment.

3. Maintain the Panels

Ensure the solar panels are in good condition and well-maintained. Regularly cleaning them preserves optimal performance, and addressing maintenance or repair needs promptly reassures buyers that the panels are cared for and will continue to generate energy efficiently.

4. Professional Appraisal

Consider having a professional appraiser assess the value of your solar panels. This provides a clearer understanding of their worth and enables you to price your home accordingly. Highlighting the added value of solar panels can attract buyers seeking energy-efficient homes.

If you have any questions about buying or selling a home with solar panels, we are always happy to provide the information you need. Please contact us on 0800 001 6258.

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