Can You Take Solar Panels With You When You Move?
If you are making a substantial investment in your home and financial future by purchasing solar, you want to ensure that you reap the benefits. “The average time it takes for a residential solar system to pay for itself is approximately 6.9 years”(solarnegotiators.com/blog). Because Solar Negotiators recommends ownership, and the utility rates in California are higher than the national average (40% higher than U.S. average), our client base may have a shorter payback period than the average solar purchaser. The majority of our clients will recoup nearly half of their gross investment within the first 365 days, 30% of which is collected from the federal tax credit. However, what if you would like to move before that time is up?
What do you do with solar panels when you move?
Can you take solar panels with you when you move? Yes! Many companies can help relocate your solar if you would like to bring your investment with you when you move. Can solar panels be removed and reinstalled? Yes! System removal and reinstallation should be possible with most companies as long as you are moving within service range. You should keep in mind that there are labor fees associated with the work involved. If you’ve already compared the costs and want to move forward with the process, you may want to consider a few things.
Just as your sales consultant did with your original project, you’ll want to perform a thorough site inspection of your new property. Is there good sun exposure? What shape is the roof in? How much roof space is there? In most cases, you’ll find adjustments will have to be made to accommodate your new home. The company that provided you with your system can work with you to downsize, upgrade, or shift panels around. This is an important step to maximize output and ensure you produce what you need to offset your usage each month.
Potential Voided Warranties
Disassembling your system and having it re-installed on your new property can sometimes outweigh the benefit of future savings. Do you plan on moving outside the service range of your installing contractor? If so, you may want to consider selling your panels with your home rather than taking them with you. Your contractor warranty will most likely be voided unless they are the ones to pull down and relocate your system to your new property.
This is an industry-wide standard set to avoid penalties from other contractor’s faulty workmanship. “They (solar panels) are extremely delicate and contain electrical wiring that could potentially cause enormous damage if improperly handled”(modernize.com). The warranty on your equipment may still be valid, but if you have any issues with your system in the future – labor will not be covered. Also, any damage to the system caused by this process will not be covered by your manufacturer’s warranty.
How Much Would It Cost To Move Solar Panels?
Moving your solar panels is an expensive process. The price to remove, disassemble, pack, ship, and reinstall your panels depends on how many panels you have, how far you are moving, and the current state of the roof you will be reinstalling on.
This entire process can range anywhere from $4,000 to $8,000, depending on the factors above. In addition to that, you may need to patch or repair your original roof which can cost between $500-$1,000.
You also need to keep permits in mind, fees can be anywhere from $50-$500 depending on where you live and where you are moving to. In addition to these costs, you need to be aware if the new home will need adjustments, new panel racks, or new mounting hardware.
Assessing Current Home & Damage
Because solar is seen as a long-term investment, it is considered a permanent part of the home. When the system is installed on your roof, it is held in place by mounting brackets to keep it secure. Once the panels are removed from your roof, you will notice sizeable holes where these brackets were located. In addition to being aesthetically displeasing, they leave your home exposed to leaks and structural damage. Depending on how many panels you have installed on your roof, you may end up paying anywhere from $500.00 to $1,000.00 for patchwork. If you’re in need of an entire re-roof, it can be performed by a third-party contractor who specializes in roof repair. However, this may add yet another substantial and unpredictable cost to your move.
If You Want to Sell Your Solar with Your Home
Depending on how long you’ve owned the system, you may find it smart to include the system as a part of the property when it’s appraised. In your research, you might have read that solar adds value to the home when it is eventually put up for sale. Although this is for the most part true, there are some things to take into account. Many professionals in the real estate market don’t differentiate solar systems based on kilowatt sizes. You may know your system is much more valuable than your neighbors’ smaller system. Even though you estimated a lifetime savings of $40,000, you will not find that is a reasonable markup for the home’s value. They see a house with solar, and it becomes just that – regardless of how many panels you’ve purchased. However, a good solution would be to show a prospective buyer your old electric bill before going solar and your current true-up statement. This will be proof of your investment payoff and show the potential of cash savings over the years to come.
Solar should be looked at as an investment rather than a short-term solution to high energy bills. In the past, solar companies have pushed leases on prospective buyers because it offers immediate savings with little to no cost to you. In the grand scheme of things, ownership offers a much higher payback. Once you finish paying off your system, you will have most or all of your energy expenses offset by your solar production. These savings will quickly amount to tens of thousands over the decade or so you’ll own your system after it is paid off. If you do not plan on owning your system long enough to reach your payback period or don’t want the hassle of moving your panels, you may want to consider selling it with your current home when you move.