NAR Library & Archives has 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.
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.
Solar Explained (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
Solar photovoltaic (PV) devices, or solar cells, change sunlight directly into electricity. Small PV cells can power calculators, watches, and other small electronic devices. Arrangements of many solar cells in PV panels and arrangements of multiple PV panels in PV arrays can produce electricity for an entire house. Some PV power plants have large arrays that cover many acres to produce electricity for thousands of homes.
Solar Energy Basics (National Renewal Energy Laboratory)
More energy from the sun falls on the earth in one hour than is used by everyone in the world in one year. A variety of technologies convert sunlight to usable energy for buildings. The most commonly used solar technologies for homes and businesses are solar photovoltaics for electricity, passive solar design for space heating and cooling, and solar water heating.
Solar Energy Technologies Office (U.S. Department of Energy)
The Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) funds research and development in three technology areas: photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP), and systems integration with the goal of improving the affordability, reliability, and domestic benefit of solar technologies on the grid.
Adding Solar Energy
Solar Energy Pros and Cons: What Are the Disadvantages And Advantages of Solar Panels? (Consumer Affairs, Sep. 21, 2022)
You should install solar panels if you’re looking for a way to save on energy expenses in the long run. While upfront installation costs can be high, the cost-benefit is clear: Installing solar panels on your home is financially and environmentally responsible. Using solar power will lower your electricity bills and earn you tax incentives. Solar panels are also great investments because they add value to your house and are exempt from property taxes.
A Solar-Powered Home: Will It Pay Off? (Investopedia, Jun. 7, 2022)
- Those seeking to go green may want to consider equipping their home with solar panels.
- Not only is solar power good for the environment, but you can earn money selling back excess power to the grid.
- While costs have come down over the past years, installation and maintenance of solar panels can be quite costly.
- Solar panels are best-suited for homes that receive ample sun exposure throughout the year.
- Before committing to solar power, be sure to understand both the social and economic factors.
PVWatts Calculator (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)
Estimates the energy production and cost of energy of grid-connected photovoltaic (PV) energy systems throughout the world. It allows homeowners, small building owners, installers and manufacturers to easily develop estimates of the performance of potential PV installations.
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.gov)
This article sets out the detailed planning steps for using solar power for your home.
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.
Federal Solar Tax Credit In 2023: Complete Guide (Energy Sage, 2023)
If you’re not sure the ITC applies to you and your home, here is a checklist of criteria to keep in mind:
- Your solar photovoltaic (PV) system was installed between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2034.
- Your solar PV system was installed on your primary residence or secondary residence in the United States.
- For an off-site community solar project, the electricity generated is credited against, and does not exceed, your home’s electricity consumption. The IRS allows a taxpayer to claim a section 25D tax credit for purchasing a portion of a community solar project.
- You own the solar PV system, meaning you purchased it outright or financed it with a loan. You did not sign a lease or PPA.
- Your solar PV system is new or being used for the first time – the credit can only be claimed on the original installation of the solar equipment. For instance, if you bought a house that came with a solar panel system already installed, you would not be eligible for the credit.
About Form 5695, Residential Energy Credits (Internal Revenue Service, Feb. 17, 2023)
Use Form 5695 to figure and take your residential energy credits. The residential energy credits are:
- The nonbusiness energy property credit, and
- The residential energy efficient property credit.
Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency® (DSIRE®)
A taxpayer may claim a credit of 30% of qualified expenditures for a system that serves a dwelling unit located in the United States that is owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer. Expenditures with respect to the equipment are treated as made when the installation is completed. If the installation is at a new home, the "placed in service" date is the date of occupancy by the homeowner. Expenditures include labor costs for on-site preparation, assembly or original system installation, and for piping or wiring to interconnect a system to the home. If the federal tax credit exceeds tax liability, the excess amount may be carried forward to the succeeding taxable year.
Property Value Impact
REALTORS® and Sustainability (National Association of REALTORS®, 2022)
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 (Berkeley Lab, 2022)
Berkeley Lab’s annual Tracking the Sun report describes trends among grid-connected, distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in the United States. The latest edition of the report is based on data from roughly 2.2 million systems, covering 79% of all distributed PV systems installed nationally through year-end 2020.
Do Solar Panels Increase Property Value? Here’s the Whole Truth (Homelight, Apr. 6, 2020)
"At the end of the day, there’s a good chance that a solar electricity system will add value to your home — as long as you can find the right buyer. Regardless, solar panels will save you money on your electric bill, and they’re good for the environment, too. If you’re not sure how a solar system could boost your home’s value, talk to your real estate agent for guidance."
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.
Articles, Reports, & Videos from NAR
Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report (National Association of REALTORS®, 2022)
In particular, see Exhibit 2-13, “Environmentally Friendly Features Considered ‘Very Important.'
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.
Legal Case Summary: Commercial Solar Array Is Not a Nuisance (National Association of REALTORS®, Jun. 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.
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.
eBooks & Other Resources
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Solar Power for your Home (eBook)
The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy (eBook)
Install Your Own Solar Panels (eBook)
Power from the Sun (eBook)
A Solar Buyer's Guide for the Home and Office (eBook)
The Solar House: Passive Heating and Cooling (eBook)
Have an idea for a real estate topic? Send us your suggestions.
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.