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5 Beginner-level Solar Tips for DC Metro Area Realtors

When a homebuyer is asking your views on installing solar, don’t be caught off guard. Here are some key points to help you confidently give advice relating to investing in clean energy.

We’ve got decades of combined experience here at Ipsun advising residents about going solar. We don’t expect you to have the time to learn a master class worth of information about rooftop panels. Luckily you don’t need to make your way through a whole textbook about the benefits of renewable energy at the household scale. Here, we’ve boiled down the takeaways so you can impress the buyer you’re working with, offer distinction, and shine in the minds of your clients.

Do’s when considering going solar:

1. Do be aware solar can cost anywhere from $11,000 to $30,000 or more. For a system size that will “take care of” most of the electric costs over an average year, depending on the devices the home has and the owner’s habits and family size, that’s the general range. Be real though: lots of projects with a similar cost should add value to the home, and solar does too, just like a pool or landscaping. Plus, solar saves money on utility bills. The price of solar panels and other system components has dropped dramatically in recent years, making now the perfect time to move on a solar installation.

2. Do expect an 8 to 11 year payback period. Depending on how long the customer plans to reside at the home and how good the home’s solar potential is, the user can plan on earning back the cost of the system in solar energy. How? The home directly uses solar energy when it’s produced, reducing energy bought from the utility company.

Why the variation in payback time? The main factor will be what direction the largest usable roof planes face, to put the solar panels on, with south being best. Your solar contractor can write up a projection based on computer modeling prior to solar deal signing. They’ll point to the current value of the 26% federal solar tax credit, as well as any applicable state level incentives, that can add to solar savings.

Change of plans? If they need to move and sell, solar is almost never a detractor for the next buyer, in fact it often helps homes sell faster. A property that already has a solar system owned by the homeowner is easy to love and some installers can service and orient new owners

3. Do select a company specializing in residential solar projects.

Keep in mind some solar companies do mostly larger commercial rooftops or country farm solar systems mounted on the ground. Glance at their customer reviews on platforms like Google, Facebook, Yelp and Angie’s List and check the firm’s website gallery and testimonials to be sure the aesthetics and performance they offer matches your expectations.

The customer experience and payment schedule can also differ. Make sure that the consultation process is free of charge and includes a proposal featuring a suggested layout of panels on the roof area and estimates the client’s savings on energy costs.

4. Have a contractor that offers rapid response service on speed-dial

Some homebuyers care a lot about the specifications and status of the solar system on the home they’re about to invest in – but home inspectors aren’t likely to note much about it other than the age and any obvious damage to wiring. When your buyer needs to be confident in knowing what shape the solar on the property is in, our team can respond to your needs. Next time you encounter a solar home and need help confirming it’s in working order and determining its benefit for the owner or occupant of the home, our service division is happy to assist.

If troubleshooting is required to bring the system back online after an operability lapse we can quote all service work and communicate with decision makers on what’s ordered and share complete reports with all parties.

5. Work with a solar partner that offers comprehensive repair services, real estate agent consulting services, and Tesla Powerwall energy storage.

Sustainable energy at the household level is helping power our lives and our communities in a healthier, safer way than old polluting fuels like coal and fracked gas power stations. The home sales industry can form partnerships with solar installation contractors that are based on trusting technology while looking for proven quality of workmanship. Realtors should insist on working with solar firms that provide a full suite of services spanning:

  • System operation evaluation
  • Quotes for any recommended repairs
  • Solar 101 educational materials an answers to homebuyer’s specific questions
  • Transfer of solar monitoring account from one user to another
  • Option for homeowners to participate in our referral bonus program and receive rewards

Solar is also becoming synonymous with preparedness and resilience, and this is truest when solar is paired with a backup battery system, also known as energy storage, like Tesla Powerwall. This keeps critical circuits online in a utility outage, perpetually recharged by the solar panels. If the homeowner has any intention of considering energy storage as part of their solar project, they’ll need to select a provider like Ipsun that has access to this product, and not all solar companies are Tesla Powerwall Certified Installers.

In the world of solar electric systems, pretty good is never enough. Our technicians and operations managers have decades of combined experience in the solar industry and are proud to count NABCEP-certified professionals among our team members, ensuring the highest quality work. When solar installations are performed at the highest standard, it’s a home upgrade that’s hard to beat.

Want another reason to bring up solar to your contacts? We offer a referral rewards program to help solar spread across our region. Want to see how the solar magic happens up close? Make an appointment to visit us at 3171 Spring St Suite C, Fairfax, Virginia 22031 to connect with us! We hope this information is helpful – pass this along to a realtor you know!

Please check our realtor-specific information at, and get in touch to let us know how we can help.


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