New Tool Standardizes Appraisals For Solar-Powered Properties

Sandia National Laboratories and solar integration firm Solar Power Electric have released PV Value, an electronic form designed to standardize appraisals for properties with photovoltaic (PV) systems.

According to a report by the trade magazine Solar Industry, the tool is designed to provide appraisers, real estate agents and mortgage underwriters with more accurate values for PV systems and prevent PV installations from being ignored or undervalued in transactions. The new tool was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

The tool uses an Excel spreadsheet, tied to real-time lending information and market fluctuations, to determine the worth of a PV system. The spreadsheet, user manual and webinar explaining the tool are available for download online.

‘Previous methods for appraising PV installations on new or existing construction have been challenging because they were not using standard appraisal practices,’ says Geoff Klise, the Sandia researcher who co-developed the tool. ‘Typically, appraisers develop the value of a property improvement based on comparable properties with similar improvements as well as prevailing market conditions. If there aren't PV systems nearby, there is no way to make an improvement comparison.’


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