Solar Energy Features & Tax Credits


As energy prices continue to rise, solar and other renewable sources are becoming more affordable options for not only large utility-grade users, but also consumers. States help make the switch even more affordable with tax credits and other benefits.


We've already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require a password.

Green Designation 

Looking for more formal training in renewable energy and green building practices? NAR's Green designation provides real estate professionals with the knowledge and awareness of green building principles applied in residences, commercial properties, developments, and communities so that they can list, market, and manage green properties as well as guide buyer-clients in purchasing green homes and buildings.

For more information, visit the Green Resource Council page. 

The Basics

Tax Bill Largely Preserves Incentives for Wind and Solar Power (The New York Times, Dec. 16, 2017)

Solar Energy Basics (National Renewal Energy Laboratory, July 2014)

Solar Energy Technologies Office (U.S. Department of Energy)

Adding Solar Energy

Google Project Sunroof (Google) – A calculator to estimate savings from residential solar panels.

Evergreen Solar (National Council for Solar Growth) — Nonprofit group with a mission to educate homeowners and businesses about the economic and environmental benefits of PV solar.

Planning a Home Solar Electric System (Energy, 2015)

Are Solar Panels Worth the Investment? (Washington Post, Mar. 26, 2014) — You’ll have to judge for yourself.

Tax Credits

Please note: While accurate at time of publication, tax credit information can change. Please check with Federal, State & Local authorities for the most up-to-date information.

Residential Energy Efficient Property Credit (Section 25D) at a Glance (Internal Revenue Service, Sept. 22, 2017) – lists qualified expenditures.  

About Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits (Internal Revenue Service, Oct. 30, 2017) – Use this form to figure and take your residential energy credits.

Federal Tax Credits for Consumer Energy Efficiency (Energy Star, 2015) — Available federal tax credits for various energy efficiencies are detailed with information on requirements, deadlines, and how to get the credit.

Rooftop Solar Leases Scaring Buyers When Homeowners Sell (Bloomberg, June 23, 2014) — While purchasing solar panels can increase the value of your home, leasing them can cost you up to 10 percent.

Energy Tax Credits (HouseLogic, 2014) — A frequently updated resource of articles from HouseLogic.

Property Value Impact

REALTORS® and Sustainability (National Association of REALTORS®, 2018) — Report shows findings from a February 2018 of NAR members on sustainability issues facing the industry. Discussion points include the prevalence of green data fields in MLSs, value of promoting energy efficiency in listings, interest in sustainability, time on market for homes with green certifications, availability and perceived value of solar panels, and sustainability-related home features of interest to clients.

Tracking the Sun 10: The Installed Price of Residential and Non-Residential Photovoltaic Systems in the United States (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Sep. 2017) — Now in its tenth edition, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)’s Tracking the Sun report series summarizes trends in the installed price of grid-connected, residential and non-residential solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the United States. The present report focuses on systems installed through year-end 2016, with preliminary trends for the first half of 2017. An accompanying LBNL report, Utility-Scale Solar, addresses trends in the utility-scale sector.

The Role of Incentives in Green Building Valuation (Appraisal Journal, Summer 2017) E — Green building demand continues to increase. Policies, incentives and regulations that affect the demand for green buildings are widespread and emanate from the federal, state, and local levels. This article discusses the influence of rebates, financing, and tax incentives. Rebates and incentives reduce the cost disparity between conventional and green commercial buildings. In valuation, these should be considered to the extent they are commonly available to all market participants at the time of the appraisal. Understanding the market's perspective on incentives as well as the extent of their availability is critical to properly addressing the market value impact of green building incentives.

Valuation of Solar Generation Assets (Solar Energy Industries Association®, n.d.) — The valuation of solar energy projects is a complex subject and is a source of tension between regulators, developers, and debt and equity investors. This paper is intended to highlight best practices, as well as common pitfalls in valuing solar energy projects including the tangible and intangible assets comprising a fully contracted in-place system (a “solar asset”).

Articles, Reports, & Videos from NAR

Window to the Law: Solar Panel Financing Issues (3m58s, National Association of REALTORS®, 2017) — Learn how to address the issues that solar panel financing can cause so that your transactions proceed smoothly.

Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report (National Association of REALTORS®, 2017) — In particular, see Exhibit 2-13, “Environmentally Friendly Features Considered ‘Very Important.’”

Solar Houses: Opportunity for Real Estate Pros Who Know How to Sell Them (8m6s, National Association of REALTORS®, May 2017) — In this video, NAR and the Solar Energy Industries Association team up to talk about the opportunities for real estate practitioners in helping households buy and sell homes with solar energy systems.

Legal Case Summary: Commercial Solar Array Is Not a Nuisance (June 28, 2017) — Vermont’s highest court rules that property owners could not claim that commercial solar panel array constituted a nuisance because the solar array did not interfere with the owners’ use of their property, even though the owners claimed that the aesthetics of the solar panels had damaged their property values.

eBooks & Other Resources

A Solar Buyer's Guide for the Home and Office (Kindle, eBook)

The Solar House: Passive Heating and Cooling (eBook)

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solar Power for your Home (eBook)

The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy (Kindle, eBook)

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The inclusion of links on this page does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this page complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.



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