The Aesthetics of Solar Panels – What Say You?

Solar panel aesthetics – This is an interesting question from a reader that is particularly relevant as more homes in the Charlottesville and Albemarle area are installing solar panels, many thanks to the Solarize Charlottesville program.

“We live in a south facing ranch house in Charlottesville. We have been considering solar installation. The south facing aspect cuts a few ways – it is technically excellent for a solar installation.

However, it would be right up front in terms of “curb appeal” – or lack thereof. Since I cannot honestly be sure we will be in the house for the duration of potential payback on the investment, this issue about how solar is perceived by potential future buyers is something I am thinking about.

Also, in terms of timeliness, 2016 may be the last year with useful tax credits. The way utilities view domestic solar installations is also a big unknown (i.e. susceptible to change in the future). Some states have seen utilities charge significant connection charges on a monthly basis (like up to $50) to account for the fact that solar users, from the utility’s perspective, are not paying their share of the fixed costs of electricity distribution.

I thought this question would be of interest to a wider audience.”

My quick thoughts:

  • Solar panels are not the most attractive
  • Solar systems are perceived as complex things by buyers; simplifying the presentation of the system.
  • I wonder/am concerned about how the systems will age.
  • If the panels can be seen prominently from the street, I believe that some buyers will see the panels as a negative.
  • Would I install them on my house? If I knew I would be there for at least 10 years.
  • One note – I’m going to share this story on twitter & facebook; I suspect I’ll get a few comments there, so I’ll add those comments to this story via storify.


Images courtesy of.

One and two.

Facebook won’t let me embed the comments from the facebook post; I’m copy and pasting:

bad for resell(sic)? i would think no power bill, regardless of appearance, would make that a no-brainer… plus the ITC(investment tax credit) was just extended for 5 more years, i’m only pointing that out, because your article contains dated information.

… the HOA in OT has finally seen the light in that they are embracing solar and using solar as a pitch for new builds. surprising 180deg, if you ask me (welcome)

Usually an eyesore, but good for a home. I’d purchase one.


Would be a plus for us


aesthetically insignificant

And from Twitter:

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  1. Chris Bruce January 8, 2016 at 08:42

    Agree with what others have said – the aesthetics of the solar panels on our house are a non-issue. And even if I did care what they looked like I’d get past that rather easily when I see that our electric bill has been $7.70 a month for the last 8 months (that’s what Dominion charges to be connected to the grid and do net-metering).

    As for the future, others with more expertise may be able to address this better, but my understanding is that the way the laws are written in VA, any solar installations happening now will be grandfathered in if there are ever any rate increases for net-metering or other shenanigans as have happened in other states.

    One other point – we just had an appraisal done so we could drop our PMI and the appraiser credited the value of our solar installation at slightly more than what it cost to install.

    1. Jim Duncan January 13, 2016 at 05:40

      Thanks Chris. Did you specifically request the appraiser to evaluate the solar?

      1. Chris Bruce January 13, 2016 at 08:38

        Yes we did. Wanted to be sure the value was as high as possible so we could stop paying PMI (which we now have).

  2. Laurie February 1, 2016 at 20:32

    If in the future they ever decide to sell their house – I think it would be beneficial for them to have information available on the benefits of solar power or on how solar power helped them specifically for those that view the house.

    1. Jim Duncan February 2, 2016 at 12:22

      Absolutely. Tracking energy usage would be awfully helpful … also, I’d love to see Location Efficient Mortgages become more of a thing.

  3. home solar panels Cairns December 15, 2016 at 03:08

    Solar panel manufacturers include a 20- to 25-year warranty (also known as a performance guarantee) with their solar panels. The industry standard guarantees 80% performance after 25 years.

  4. Pingback: Aesthetics of Solar Panels - Do They Look Ugly or Awesome? - Main Street Solar

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