Solar Panels in El Segundo – The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Do solar panels increase property values? Should you lease or buy? El Segundo real estate expert Scot Nicol shares the good, the bad, and the ugly.


Many consumers feel going solar is “the right” thing to do for our environment. To that I would agree, we should all do our part regardless of how small it may be. What many do not consider when making their choice to go solar is whether the choice is good or bad for the value of their El Segundo home.

Inheriting a Solar Panel Lease When Purchasing a Home in El Segundo

I can make the following statement with 100% conviction…. I have never had a buyer that was excited and happy about inheriting a solar lease as part of a home purchase. On face value, the buyer thought having solar was “nice.” But once we were in escrow and they were reviewing the lease they were asked to inherit their tones rapidly changed.

The best way to describe what happens is as follows… A buyer typically doesn’t have a gage on what the utility costs are for a dwelling other than their own. The seller who has entered into a 20-year lease payment for solar panels and has done so based upon their average energy usage.

The solar companies are great at pointing out the long-term cost savings for the property owner, buyers never see it the same way. All they see is a 20-year relationship they’re being forced to inherit. There are, as the solar companies will point out, times when the solar panels can be purchased during the term of the lease…. Remember this…

How El Segundo Homebuyers View Solar Panel Leases

So as I have shared, homeowners see long-term savings… Buyers see a house that will cost them over $1,000,000 plus a lease of equipment they had no part in choosing. From a buyers perspective does that add value or take value away from the home…. I can speak from experience, it always appears to buyers as a negative.

Inheriting Solar Panel Lease Constraints

One recent experience I had with a solar company was when clients of mine were buying a smaller home that they were excited to add on to. What we discovered during the escrow period was the solar company would not allow the panels to be removed for more than 3 months. The new owners had to pay to have the panels removed, store the panels, pay while they were not in use, and…. you’ll love this one….. The homeowners would need to send the plans for their new addition to the solar company to have them approve the new location of the panels. I can honestly say this almost derailed the escrow.

Solar Panels – Buy vs. Lease?

If you are thinking about solar…. Buy it outright if you think you will move in 10 years. Owned solar panels on a property are an asset and add value…. Leased panels on a home are a liability and are never seen as an asset by prospective buyers.

Choosing an El Segundo Solar Company

What I can also share is there are many solar companies in the market, do you research on customer service once you have the panels installed. I have heard horror stories of getting companies out for service, and even another story of panels not working efficiently for close to 6 months without the owners knowing.

We are always here to share our experiences with you – give us a call at (310) 529-5286 and let us show you how to see real estate differently.

Local expert advice provided by Scot Nicol of Nicol Real Estate

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