Can I Take My Solar Panels with Me When I Move?
For homeowners who have already invested in solar panels, the question of whether you can take them with you (and whether you should) if you move to a new home often comes up. The answer is not a simple yes or no, there are a lot of things to consider before you decide whether you should take solar panels when you move.
Aesthetics and Roof Leaks
When you get solar panels on your roof they are screwed into the roof using mounting components. That’s a good thing because it means your panels will remain securely in place in all types of weather, but it will leave holes in the roof if you take the panels off. It won’t necessarily be a cosmetic issue—you probably won’t be able to see it from the ground—but it will be a roof longevity issue. Without proper sealing and protection from leaks (or installing a whole new roof), that could leave your buyers with serious issues down the road that you would be obligated to disclose or fix before selling.
There is also an aesthetic issue, since the area under your panels was shaded from sun and from some of the elements, so the roof shingles will not be as faded compared to the rest of the roof. The longer your solar panels are on, the more faded the rest of the roof will look compared to the spots where the panels were located.
Consider the Warranty Implications
Many solar panels come with a warranty, but that may only remain in effect as long as you don’t make any structural changes to the panels. That includes removing or relocating them, so if you decide to take them with you, it could void all or part of the warranty on the panels themselves. You can contact the solar company that installed the panels to ask if they are willing to remove and relocate them, and whether that would keep the warranty intact.
Legal Issues Associated with Solar Panel Removal
If you sold your home and did not specify in the contract that you would be taking the solar panels with you as the seller, you may not legally be able to remove them. Real estate laws have specific circumstances under which you can take things that are installed in or on the home, but it must be stipulated as part of your contract with the buyers. Your appraiser may have also taken the solar panels into account when valuing the home, so you may not be able to take the solar panels without affecting the appraised value.
Removing Solar Panels Can Get Expensive
Removing solar panels can be a very costly endeavor, including:
- Labor to remove and relocate them
- Permitting costs at your new home
- The possibility you will need new racks and/or mounting equipment for a new roof
In many cases you can sell your home for a higher price with solar panels, which can make up for energy savings you will miss by not taking them with you. Call Intermountain Wind and Solar today if you still have questions about moving solar panels, or to get a new system installed at your new home when you move.