In Arizona, using solar power for your home seems like a logical way to save money on your monthly energy bills. If you talk to one of the many companies who offer installation, representatives will undoubtedly tell you about all of the benefits of having solar power in the Grand Canyon State. However, solar panels are expensive and there are several variables to consider before making this kind of investment. Here are some considerations for those who are wondering: Should I convert to solar power for my home?
Your Home’s Energy Efficiency
It’s essential to start the process with full awareness of your home’s current energy efficiency. If your residence needs updates such as window replacements, insulation work, or air duct repair, a conversion may not be as beneficial. In this situation, it may make more sense to make the necessary improvements before adding a solar energy system. Additionally, an energy-efficient home is likely to need fewer solar panels, thereby cutting down on the overall costs.
If you have extensive landscaping, you should be aware that installing solar energy may require removing trees from your property or cutting limbs. Although trees provide shade and relief from the Arizona sun, they may interfere with panels receiving direct sunlight. Homeowners in this situation will have to assess whether solar panels provide enough benefits to justify losing or altering established trees. However, there may be ways to get around cutting limbs and removing trees, so it’s important to explore these options before making a decision.
Home Owner’s Associations
If you live in a community with a Home Owner’s Association (HOA), you will need to check whether any restrictions will prevent you from going forward with the installation. Arizona law prohibits HOAs from banning the installation of a solar energy device. However, an HOA “may adopt reasonable rules regarding the placement of a solar energy device if those rules do not prevent the installation, impair the functioning of the device or restrict its use or adversely affect the cost or efficiency of the device.” It would be advisable to find out as much as you can about your HOA’s applicable rules before paying a deposit or signing a solar energy installation contract.
How Long do You Plan to Live in the Home?
Arizona homeowners lease or buy solar panels. If you plan on leasing and then need to move before your term has finished, a subsequent owner may or may not be able to take over your lease. Leased panels don’t add value to a home upon resale because they are not part of the home. Anyone buying the property will have to qualify to take over the lease, and if they can’t, you may have to pay a penalty to end your contract. If you are considering buying solar equipment and know you plan to sell, you should talk with a real estate attorney to assess how the addition will impact your home’s selling price and marketability.
In some cases, installing a solar energy system can be economical as well as environmentally friendly. However, the degree to which you may benefit depends on multiple variables. Additionally, prices for these systems can vary tremendously, and it’s important to get estimates from multiple companies before getting started. You should also consult with an experienced Arizona real estate attorney to discuss the pros and cons of adding solar energy to your home.
Laura B. Bramnick is an experienced Arizona real estate attorney who can help you examine all aspects of your solar energy addition and any related real estate issues. If you are seeking an exceptional, client-driven real estate lawyer in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Sedona, and throughout the State of Arizona, contact Laura B. Bramnick to schedule your consultation.