I recently spent big bucks to install whole house solar at my home. At the time, I went on air making fun of myself talking about how it may not ever pay off for years and years. In addition, I was speculating that buyers don't really value energy-saving stuff like putting in solar panels. But it turns out I was wrong.

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory conducted an 8-year study of home resale values where whole house solar was involved. The study found the typical home with whole house solar sells for $17,000 more than a home that doesn't have it. That can recoup virtually all, if not all, of the cost for installing solar.

Think about it: You install solar, you get a federal tax credit, a possible state tax credit and bam! A buyer realizing the wisdom of what you did will pay you more to cover the savings you didn't get if you don't live in the house long enough to get return on investment. Or maybe you live long enough to recoup your initial investment and you then make a tidy profit.

Why do I always talk about money when I talk about energy efficiency? It's my belief that most homeowners want to know the decision to be energy conscious requires you to see a real return on investment and a dollars and cents value.

To my surprise, it looks like solar may now meet that test!

Editor's note: This segment originally aired in May 2011.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

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