Selling A Home With Solar Panels Cheat Sheet | DroneQuote
By DroneQuote | Posted May 16, 2019
Selling A Home With Solar Panels Top 5 Things To Know.
Reading time: 6 minutes
I love having solar panels on my rooftop, it is literally really cool, 73° cool in the summer months to be specific. I say that comfortably with both air conditioning units running full blast on a hot day and naught a worry about my utility bill. The best part about having solar is that I really don’t have to do anything for the system to work, other than paying the bill in my case since I financed my solar panels.
Unfortunately, since the system doesn’t get much thought, it is far too easily forgotten about. Should I ever sell my home or refinance my mortgage, there are some things that would be of great benefit for me to know before I start either of the two processes.
We put together a solar cheat sheet that will guide you through the information you should always have easily available for things related to your solar panels so that if you refinance or sell your home the solar won’t hold you up, and believe us when we tell you we’ve heard some stories of last-minute discoveries related to the solar system which unduly hindered the transaction.
Important Records To Have When Selling A Home With Solar Panels.
Well for one, I have never met a man or woman who regretted being prepared. On the contrary, when unpreparedness hits us in the face, we are shocked that we didn’t see it coming. If you have all the information about your solar panel system readily available, you will be able to answer the questions a real estate transaction may call on. Being able to add details to the solar installation will allow you to add a quantifiable value-add of the solar panels. When people know what they are buying, they buy with confidence.
Typically people realize they need one piece of information or another from this solar cheat sheet, and not having it cost them time, held up the close of escrow on the sale of a home, or interrupted the processing of a refinance. When you have your completed solar cheat sheet filled out, you can easily share it with your agent or mortgage professional and make their lives a lot easier. I promise you they’ll thank you for it! Keeping track of solar documents is important when selling a home with solar panels.
#1 Start by taking note of the site conditions of the solar panels.
Don’t forget to date the solar panel install report so you can start with a frame of reference in time. Most solar installations come with some sort of owner’s manual that provides most of the information you’ll need to fill out your solar cheat sheet, so if possible start with that document in hand.
- Date of installation – This is used to determine the remaining warranties.
- The current age of roof – The newer the better, as you may imagine.
- The version of Net Energy Metering agreement(NEM) for the solar panel system operation. This you would get by calling the utility company responsible for your home’s area. Older versions of Net Energy Metering are more favorable and those terms and conditions are typically grandfathered for a period of time.
These peices of information will support the value of the system when you are selling a home with solar panels. While the age of the roof or net metering version may not be actual details about the solar panels, they are none the less valuable pieces of information.
#2 Next, be in the know about workmanship details relevant to your solar panels.
The solar workmanship is one of the most important details of the system because it will make a difference on whether or not warranties are honored by manufactures and of course, has an impact on the solar panels’ performance. If you can fill out this section without leaving anything blank, chances are you chose a good installer.
- Installer – Who installed the system.
- Installer’s phone number.
- Copy of sales agreement – Here you should be able to define the warranty periods and other important information.
When selling a home with solar panels, being able to pass on up-to-date and accurate information about a solar installer matter, especially if you are able to pass on a solar panel installation with an active warranty period by a company able to service it. Unfortunately, this is not always the case nor is it uncommon for there to be concern or question about the solar installer.
#3 Along the way, gather as much information about the solar components too.
Having this level of information is very helpful if you have to file a warranty claim on any of the equipment parts, but it is also valuable at the time of sale of the house because it gives your realtor additional information they may be able to use in GREEN MLS fields to better categorize a home into available inventory.
Again, here you will be assisted tremendously if you were given an installation packet put together by your installer.
- Inverter Model number, Serial number(s) – If you don’t have a resource to look up inverter details, you can sometimes find hardware numbers somewhere on the device itself if it is accessible.
- Monitoring – Monitoring is usually managed through a mobile or web application operated by the manufacturer of the inverter. Solar Edge and Enphase are two examples of this. If there is a monitoring system, have the login and password credentials accessible.
- Panel’s Model number, at least one Serial number(s) – Getting these numbers may be a bit harder if you do not have access to monitoring with panel-level monitoring and or unless you get on the roof. Again, you may be able to find these numbers in an installation packet.
#4 Be clear about how the solar was paid for.
The part about how the solar panels were bought is very important, more specifically, how the solar panels were paid for. The reason why this matters so much is that sometimes there are delays in selling a home with solar panels because there was a Uniform Commercial Code Financing Statement (UCC-1) lien on the title that the homeowner forgot to bring up.
If you purchased the system outright from the installer, you will want to make sure you have a countersigned agreement readily available to show as proof of ownership. This is always the best-case scenario because it keeps things very simple and straightforward. This is also why we always tell people about the “secret” way to buy solar or pay for their roofing.
If you financed the system, know your finance account login details and also know whether or not you are able to pass on the debt for the system or if you have to pay off at the time of sale or with the refinance. The solar cheat sheet includes the contact information for the transfer departments of major solar finance companies.
Say you choose a lease or power purchase agreement from the likes of Sunpower, Tesla (formerly SolarCity), Sunrun, or Vivint. Most, if not all lease companies will have departments dedicated to transferring leases at the time of sale or temporarily lifting UCC-1 liens for refinances. Though they will typically ask for a notice in advance, so all the more reason to have this information ready. As a side note here, between 2011-2015 the prepaid lease was all the rage in solar, and it was a great deal too. Unfortunately, a lot of homeowners confuse this as a purchase, when in fact it is still a lease.
Finally, if your solar was paid for through any Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) funds like HERO, Ygrene, Figtree, or the like, you may be in for a bit of a ride. The challenge with a lot of these options is that they have a real tendency to complicate the transaction be it the sale of a house or the refinance of a mortgage. A lot of times there are issues with the subordination of these loans, prepayment penalties of some kind, or some other issue that comes up. If you have this method of financing for your solar system or other home improvements, make it a point to share with the realtor or mortgage professional from the onset as it will only help you.
#5 Put a number on it.
With enough information, you will be better prepared to answer any questions that may come up when selling a home with solar panels or refinancing your mortgage.
Now the last thing you may be thinking about is what kind of value the system may add to the home. First, it is important to note that value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, but an astute seller like yourself that is armed with data will have more ground to speak on when asking a higher sales price.
You can take the information gathered in the solar cheat sheet and use a website like Pvvalue.com to get a good idea of what the installed system may do to help the value of your home. Other important factors here are how the system was paid for and whether or not the installer is still in business to service the system and or honor warranties.
Just do it and forget about it.
Taking the brief 10 minutes it would take you to put together the solar cheat sheet below can save you a significant amount of stress and worry if you are ever needing to get that information in a hurry or to beat some deadline.
Do yourself a favor and fill out the form, print it, and tape it somewhere near or on your equipment.
If you have any questions about your system or need help with a system installed by a company no longer in business, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] or with the contact link to request assistance. Or if you are on the buying side, take a look at what you should look for here.
Solar Cheat Sheet
Use this form to help you collect and store information that you will need when it comes time to sell the property on which you installed solar. Also, there are contact numbers and email addresses that you may find useful in the future.
- Installation date:
- NEM version (Contact SDGE):
- Current roof age:
- Phone number:
- Copy of sales agreement – Print and store with this form
- Inverter Make:
- Model number:
Warranty transfer contact:
- SolarEdge: [email protected]
- SMA: [email protected] or call 877-697-6283
- Enphase: Initiated through monitoring portal login.
- Screenshot of recent production
Common monitoring platforms include:
- Solar Panels Makel:
- Solar Panels Model:
Warranty transfer contact:
- Sunpower: [email protected]
If you paid for your system by means other than cash, the following details will be pertinent to you. If refinancing or selling, you’ll need to contact another party to lift the Uniform Commercial Code Financing Statement (UCC-1) lien. If you are working a homeowner for some kind of real estate/mortgage transaction, remember that with some prepaid leases homeowners will be under the incorrect assumption that they purchased the system cash, when in reality lease contingencies still apply.
Below are some of the contacts for major solar lessors:
- SolarCity/Tesla: [email protected]
- Sunrun [email protected] or .855.478.6786, ext. 2
- Vivint: [email protected] or 877.404.4129, Opt. 7
- Sunpower: [email protected] or .800.321.1770 opt. 1
- Spruce Finance (formerly KiloWatt Financial): [email protected] or : 888.803.6267
Below are some of the contacts for major solar finance companies:
- Dividend Solar: [email protected] or 844.805.7200
- Mosaic: [email protected] or 855.746.5551
- Sunlight Financial [email protected] or (888) 850-3359
- Ygrene: https://ygrene.com/contact-us or 866-634-1358
- HERO: [email protected] or 855-225-4376
W hope you find this information helpful as you enjoy the benefits of having installed solar, but we really hope you take me up on the suggestion to find this information and store it somewhere easy to access. At the bare minimum, you can save this page or share this page so that if you sell your home or refinance your mortgage you can get the ball rolling with the right channel.
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