Millions of homes in America undergo remodels every year. One remodel that many homeowners make, particularly during COVID-19, is an Accessory Dwelling Unit. Is adding solar panels to a home remodel a good idea? Businesses and residents can reap the benefits of decreased electricity costs and an increase in the home value. While you can add solar at any time, solar becomes a “no-brainer” in particular situations like building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU).
With the housing market and housing costs on the rise in California, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU)s are an excellent option for homeowners to gain a personal housing space. There are numerous benefits to adding an ADU to your property from:
All ADUs have to submit for permits through their local jurisdiction. In addition to your site plan, elevations, and design, you also have to include a Title 24 calculation. Tile 24 is part of the energy requirements set by the state of California. They mandate how energy efficient a building must be before it can be constructed.
Title 24 requirements also impact residential homeowners because it applies to accessory dwelling units (ADUs). ADUs are often referred to as “secondary units,” “granny flats,” or “cottages” and are required to meet net-zero electricity guidelines. This means that their creation and use shouldn’t increase our carbon footprint. Beyond the requirements to meet Title 24, getting solar panels for an ADU is a great idea.
ADUs are getting a considerable boost in demand due to stay-at-home regulations with COVID-10, heavy push for affordable housing perfectly timed with state regulations like Title 24. With Title 24, starting January 1, 2020, all new construction, additions, and alterations to residential and commercial buildings in California will be required to meet net-zero electricity guidelines.
The Permit Process is also much more straightforward when you add solar to your ADU. Some cities allow for one permit application that includes Title 24 calculations and solar panel plans. With how California now requires an ordinance that provides for accessory dwelling units to have solar panels, cities have made it easier for solar panels to be included in your plans to develop your ADU. Cities are trying to facilitate the process because ADUs can contribute to the need for affordable housing. ADUs, particularly solar, enhance housing opportunities, and the permit process has been made compatible with solar plans.
By considering solar panels before the construction period, you won’t need to retrofit your home or ADU later to accommodate solar. With solar in mind during your ADU construction’s initial design, you can incorporate critical solar specific design specifications to produce the most energy from your system. The layout includes the best angle of your roof and south-facing direction, vents, roof load bearings, design, and electrical circuits.
Prefab options for solar energy make things easier. One of the biggest challenges to getting an ADU was the cost of skilled labor, design, and construction. Because ADUs tend to be small, it’s more challenging for designers and architects to design to meet Title 24 regulations. Due alleviate these challenges, a market for prefab construction of ADUs was born. You can now purchase an ADU that is already prebuilt that facilitates solar panels.
Plus, you won’t have to make unnecessary changes down the road to have solar installed, such as new electrical work, roofing, and design. By adding solar to your ADU early while you’re still in the design stages, you will save money and time.
Installing solar panels is a long-term investment that can serve you well for decades with very minimal maintenance. Adding solar panels to your ADU will reduce the ongoing cost of electricity consumption and provide additional benefits as well. Whoever occupies the ADU will benefit from lower electricity costs. And as electricity rates keep rising, this is an advantage that could become even more attractive over time.
Most ADUs will meet the minimum requirements to satisfy Title 24 Requirements with an 8-panel system above 2.4kW in size. This system size should offset roughly $75 – $100 worth of electricity usage every month. You can also sell back excess energy to your utility company in California, providing you credits to offset further electricity consumption.
For most property owners who decide to add an ADU, it is because you are looking to gain an additional source of rental income. Because the solar energy system should offset roughly $75 – $100 worth of electricity usage every month, most property owners pass this cost to their renters in the form of increased rent. For homeowners, they can increase the rent by $50 and improve their rental property valuations. Plus, this can benefit the renter since they can enjoy the benefits of a lower cost of living by not having to pay for expensive electricity bills.
In addition to the added value by updating paint color, cabinetry, flooring, and more during a home remodel, adding solar is also a great way to increase your home’s value. Solar energy helps homes sells for more and faster than those without. Even if you are not looking to sell your house, your house will be more energy-efficient, saving you money on your electricity bill each year with solar.
Solar panels are the ultimate home upgrade. Just like renovating your kitchen or upgrading your bathroom, purchasing a solar energy system will also increase your home’s valuation. Studies have shown that homeowners are willing to pay for a home with an existing solar energy system. When evaluating the same house, one with solar and one without, wouldn’t you be willing to pay more for a home that had a lower monthly maintenance cost?
One study conducted by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory showed that, on average, home solar panels increased a home’s value by about $4.1%. For the typical home in Los Angeles that costs $650,000, solar panels can increase your LA home’s valuation by $26,650! Market factors like electricity rates and system size may impact the influence solar has on your home value. But not only do homes with solar sell for more, but homes with solar panels can also sell for more than homes without solar panels.
Pro Solar Tip: This won’t apply if you choose to lease your solar panels, and we don’t recommend leasing for that reason. Lease vs. Owning.
The solar panel cost and cost-benefit might explain why some choose to install solar panels, but others find that the environmental benefit outweighs the financial considerations. Our homes, vehicles, businesses are typically powered by carbon-based fossil fuels. For the first time in history, renewable energy is cheaper than traditional carbon-based fossil fuels. By switching to solar energy, we can reduce the world’s energy consumption on fossil fuels and combat global warming. This is why solar energy is the cornerstone to sustainability.
Are you interested in getting solar for your ADU? Regardless of whether it is to reduce electricity costs or satisfy Title 24 Requirements, Forme Solar is here to help! Reach out today and get a quote on solar for your ADU. Adding solar to your ADU will undoubtedly add to your bottom line. Give Forme Solar a call today at (877) 288-1097! We would be happy to help assist you get answers around getting solar power for your ADU.