Buying or Listing a Property with Solar? I’m Your Expert
On the island of Oahu, the sun shines almost 365 days per year. With electricity cost being the highest in the nation at .32 cents per kilowatt hour, photovoltaic solar is the answer. Before my career in real estate, I sat in about 2,500 kitchens designing custom solar systems for each of my clients. My goal was to save them the most money possible.
Two years ago, Hawaiian Electric Company banned Net Metering, which was a one-for-one credit system of power. Solar panels produced your own power during the day and sent the unused energy back to the grid. HECO sold your power to the neighbors, but at night you could pull power back from the grid for free, resulting in an $18.00 base electric bill. These systems still exist, but only on a very limited number of properties on the islands. After the new rules came into play, I decided to leave the solar world and pursue my dream of selling Oahu’s beautiful real estate. And that turned out to be a very good move. That said, I’m still a huge solar and green home development supporter and believer.
Solar panels on a rooftop in my neighborhood, Kaimuki
Customer Grid Supply Program
In September of 2016, HECO imposed the new CGS program, which is what we are working with today. Homeowners have to buy back the power (that they produced with their home’s panels) at night at .15 a kilowatt hour. Your $18.00 bill with solar now is projected to be back in the hundreds per month. The only way it made sense for homeowners to go solar was if they were able to buy a very expensive battery system that stored their daytime power to use at night. Unfortunately, those battery systems like Tesla weren’t available on island, and solar took a huge plunge in the market.
When searching for homes for my clients, I am always looking for properties that have existing net-metering solar systems. These homes are rare like gold and should be valued and priced higher than the next door neighbors’ property without. To be able to run air conditioning all year round, Christmas lights, cook, have renters and guests stay for visits, and know you’ll receive about $18.00 bill, is pretty priceless.
For those homeowners still thinking of going solar, a few rules have changed over the last couple months:
- Solar agreements with HECO are now passed along in the sale of the home and is linked to the tax map key number – so buying a house with an existing NEM or CGS system is a huge asset!
- Batteries are now available on island, and if you want to add a battery to your home, Heco will let you retrofit an existing system or add it to a new system for back up power. This is great!
- An unfortunate solar ITC tariff is starting at 30% on all imported panels and will increase the cost of going solar not to mention the added cost of having a battery system. Not so great…
My advice to my clients — buy a home that already has PV and score!
Something that sets me apart from the rest of the Realtors on island is that I really know how much value the system adds to your home.
I care about this stuff, I understand every aspect of solar systems and design, and I am your point person. Even if it’s a solar lease that many are fearful of, I fully understand how to market the lease savings properly, and educate potential buyers about the value and numerous benefits of having solar in Hawaii.
If you are looking to buy a home with solar contact me, I can help you find it. If you are looking to list your home that has solar I am the agent for you. I would love to put together a listing presentation including a home analysis of what your home is worth today, with the added PV value.
Want to read more? Here’s another blog I wrote about Solar back in 2016: The Solar Coaster Rides Through Hawaii
I am Hawaii Life’s Expert Solar Realtor, and I would love to assist you in 2018!