It has been hot lately and a bit unbearable for many when we all spend more time at home due to the stay-at-home orders. With that said, we are buying more fans, portable and window ACs, solar fans, fixing windows, and finally installing that split AC you always wanted! With one problem comes another. Did your electric bill go up as well? I’m sure it has which has then made you think about solar, if not you should!
Photo Credit: JD Laney
When it comes to solar there are several questions to initially ask yourself. First, do you have a solar water heater? If the answer is no, I would highly suggest you look into this more feasible option first and then circle back to solar photovoltaic panels. Your water heater may be 40% of your electricity bill and by installing a solar water heater you could see the return on your investment within a few years and after that, making hot water at no cost to you for a real long time! Here is a breakdown of a potential solar water heater purchase, costs, credits, and rebates, so you can see if this move is right for you. Thanks to Scott Wishart at Revolusun who has provided these scenarios and great information for us! As a recap, an 80-gallon system would run an owner about $6,500 and would turn out to be about $2,500 after the tax credits (Federal and State) and the Hawaii Energy rebate ($1,250). You are looking at about $900 more for a 120-gallon tank set up. To put things into perspective, a regular hot water heater will run you about $800-$1000. FYI, if you service the tank every 4-5 years, there is a good chance the system could last 20+ years.
Now we will move on to solar photovoltaic systems and another question to ask yourself is, should I lease solar? From a cost perspective, leasing makes it more affordable, especially if there is no way of getting the cash or loan you need to purchase the PV system. But, with all honesty, owning your own system is far superior in many ways, and here’s why. One, you as the owner get to take the state and federal tax credits and rebates versus the leasing company. This could be up to 45% to 50% of the system you purchase! Two, the leased system has you paying the leasing company and also HECO for your energy forever at prevailing rates. Whereas once the owned system is paid off, you are generating your own free energy, regardless of any increases from HECO or a leasing company. Three, there have been issues with the renegotiations, transferring, and repairs on leasing companies that have gone out of business. This is common in the solar industry because business is often based on state and federal subsidies that come and go. Often with smaller companies who have not made it their consistent business over the years. Four, when it comes time to sell your home, a leased system can have complications. You may deal with transferring issues, the buyer wanting the system purchased outright or the buyer not wanting the system at all. Lastly, an appraiser can only add the value of an owned system, not a leased system and on average we are looking at 3-4% of your home value. Here in Hawaii, often times the net value of the system after the tax credits & rebates are what an appraiser will assess the system. This means you could basically recoup what you put into the system when you sell but take advantage of lower electricity bills until then. Wondering what this will cost you? Check out the two charts below that will give you an idea depending on if you have an electric bill of around $200/month or $400/month. Just an FYI and possibly a greater incentive to do something now versus later the Feder Tax Credits are currently at 26% for 2020, will decrease to 22% in 2021, and are expected to sunset after 2021.
If this blog has got you thinking, maybe I should look into solar, let us know, we will be happy to refer you to a few great solar installers that our clients have used and enjoyed working with. It's a lot to soak in but the experts we have worked with are great at explaining everything so you understand it and take your best interest at heart. Also, if you are purchasing a home with solar, make sure you work with a realtor who is knowledgeable on solar and the different products and their programs. Navigating through escrow and helping with values for appraisers are areas an expert green realtor like ourselves can be of service.
Last but not least, here are the September Monthly Real Estate Sales for Oahu. (Click on the photo below or here to view the entire update) As we look at year-to-date, our median sales price for a single-family home is $811,000 which is +3.3% from last year.
New listings are down because fewer are coming on the market at this time (-21.6%) but our pending sales (in escrow) are up (12.2%) from last year this time, we need more listings to meet our demand! This is a great time to sell your single-family home! The condo market has much more inventory and therefore slowly trailing the fast-paced single-family home market right now. Let us know how we can help you during this interesting market, even if it is just a resource or expert advice. Whether you are buying, selling, or modifying your home, we are here for you, your friends, and your family!