Questions to Ask When Buying a Home with a Solar System

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Steele Group Realty BRE# 01474222

Depending on where you live in the U.S., you may have noticed a marked up turn in the number of homes that have installed solar panel systems.   I don’t have any statistics, but as a Realtor I’ve noticed a large increase in the number of San Diego resale homes with solar as compared to even a year ago.  In fact, one of my buyer client’s is currently in escrow on a home with solar, which led us to some interesting questions.  I should note that at this time there are no specific required seller disclosures concerning solar in California, beyond disclosing whether the system is leased, owned or a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement). 

It thus falls to the buyer to investigate and learn about the equipment, costs, benefits and warranties.  Here are some questions to help in your inquiry:


1.  Is the system owned by the sellers and if so, do they have a loan and will it be paid through closing or transfer with the property?  Ask for invoices.

2.  Is it lease or a PPA?  If so, there are some important considerations which I outlined in this previous post.

3.  When was it installed?  Was the roof inspected at time of installation?  Is there a copy of the inspection report?

4.  How much power does it produce?  What percentage of the home’s electricity does it provide?  What is an average electric bill from the utility company?

5.  Is there any maintenance history?

6.  How long does the installer warrant the installation?

7.  How long is the warranty provided by the manufacturer of the panels?  (20-30 years is the norm).

8.  How long is the warranty provided by the manufacturer of the inverter?  (10 years is the norm. The inverter converts power from DC to AC).

9.  Does the seller provide copies of all warranties?  Are all warranties transferable, and if so, how?  Does the buyer need to register with the installer after close of escrow?


Buying a home with a solar system can be a real plus.  A few questions asked before escrow closes could save money and headaches down the road. 


If you’re ready to buy or sell your solar powered home in San Diego County, just give me a call!




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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

These are few and far between here in Northern VA, but if they become more prevalent, it will be nice to have this post as a reference.

May 07, 2018 08:36 AM #1
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Marti Steele Kilby, CRS

Broker/Owner, San Diego, CA
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