Can I Take the Solar Panels Along When Moving My Home?

In language, ‘can’ and ‘should’ are verbs that change the course of any future action and its consequences. Can you drink eight glasses of water every day? The answer depends on your thirst and ability. However, the more important question is, should you drink eight glasses of water every day?

In the same manner, can you take a Photovoltaic(PV) system when moving into a new house, is not the real question. Of course, you can remove the solar panels and install them in the new home. It’s your house, after all. Nevertheless, should you move, the PV system is a better question.

Having an answer to the question will help you make better decisions while selling an existing home and moving into a new house. Removing and re-installing solar panels is not as easy as it seems to be. Several factors should come into mind when thinking of relocating a solar panel array. Let’s discuss them in detail:

Removing the panels is damaging

Most residential properties have rooftop solar installations spread on a fixed frame. To mount the solar panels, one has to drill holes on the roof. Removing the solar panels will mean that you will have to unscrew the frame, leaving drilling holes on the roof. Although not a severe concern, the holes can cause unbearable leakages for the next homeowner, if left unchecked.

Uneven appearance of the roof is another downside of removing the solar panel array. The area under the solar panels that stays in the shade does not crack or lose color. However, the roof space exposed to the sun fades and cracks. Thus, removing the solar panel will mean that you will have to invest in repairs.

Relocating of solar panels is not the smartest idea, as it can harm the panels. Solar manufacturers make robust panels, yet there are chances of accidental damage while transportation that you might not want to take. Minor scratches do not affect the panels’ output, but once broken, the panels are not efficient if at all they work. Also, fixing broken panels is not possible.

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Consider the system price

The cost of electricity differs by states, so does the cost of solar panels. For better cost understanding, calculate solar panel prices in dollars per watt. According to EnergySage, an informational website sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, the average cost of residential solar panels is $3.36 per watt. The gross price of a typical 5KW PV array is $16,800. Solar tax credit, state and local grants, tax rebates, and solar credits further cut the cost to$14,000.

Another point to take note of is the difference in solar panels prices across brands and manufacturers. Factors like installer experience, location, solar accessories, and racking equipment are significant when it comes to calculating the cost of solar relocation. When retailers buy in bulk, companies sell solar panels in a range between $0.85 to $1.25, meaning that a 250W panel will cost around $187.50. However, if you want to buy one or two panels, it may come at $1 (or more) per watt and cost around $250.

Installing a new PV system is better than taking the risk of damaging the panels. If bearing the cost of relocating the panels and labor costs do not ring a bell, consider the utility costs of the location you plan to relocate. If the electricity costs of the new area are higher, you will have to add more panels to the PV array. Adding more panels will mean that you may need to change the inverter and other components to fit the new solar capacity.

PV array makes a Premium Property

According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the home value increases by 3-4% by installing a PV system. Homebuyers favor properties with solar panel installation over the ones that do not have PV arrays across several states, housing markets, and house types.

In its report, Selling into the Sun, the laboratory states that Installing an average 3.6 KW PV system can add a premium value of about $4/W ($15,000) to a residential property.

In some states, like California, the premium is $1.10/W ($ 16,000) larger than other states. As more people look forward to becoming independent of the utility grid, it will be beneficial to sell a property with the PV array intact.

Do not be a snail

It the nature of a snail to carry its home on the back. You are a human who can move into a new house and make it a home! Taking the solar panel array to a different location does not seem to be the wisest of ideas. However, you can. Albeit, consider the money that you will waste on relocating a $14,000 PV array on repairs, commute, and re-installation.

Across most states, PV array installations can get the seller around $12,700 more on a residential property. Thus, getting value for a PV system that has been in use is better than taking the trouble of relocating it. And, of course, you should drink at least eight glasses of water every day!