We're seeing more and more houses being sold with solar panels these days so we thought this was an important one to cover. There are three different scenarios that solar panels can take in the sale of a home:
First, there is a solar lease through a specific solar company
This means that the owner has hired a specific solar company to put them on the property. In this process the owner has received a quote for them to pay each month that is put towards their electric bill. Once they go to sell the home, it is the buyer's responsibility to notify the solar company that they wish to take on the lease. The buyer then submits an application to the solar company (to make sure they can afford the panels) and are given a quote based on their qualification. If the solar company is not notified about this change then it can cause a slow down in the escrow process. Hiccups to happen quite as often anymore with this, not that solar panels have been more common place, but it is still important to be on top of it and up front in order to avoid issues.
Second, the seller owns the solar panels outright
So there would be no monthly payments with this and the panels would directly transfer with sale of the home. Buyers get the full benefit in this instance of little to no electricity bill. They are however, responsible for maintenance and any upgrades needed for the panels.
And last, the seller owns the panels through a personal loan
In this case, the seller has gone through a bank or credit union (rather than a solar company) to help with the purchase of the panels. So in this case, they most likely have a monthly payment for them but eventually will own them outright. In order for the panels to transfer over to the buyer, it is their responsibility to contact the bank to apply for the loan. The buyer gets the benefit of eventually owning the panels while also having low electricity bills up until then. Sellers will often pay off the loan with the sale of the house so the buyers do not have to take on that payment and can own them outright.