Solar panels can help lower a homeowner’s electric bill but they can also help sell a property. According to a new study by the Berkeley Lab in California, homes with a typical 3.1-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system command an average $24,705 more than properties without the set-ups. About half a million U.S. homes tap PV for power, and about 32 percent of the systems were added just last year. PV systems convert sunlight directly into electricity using solar panels made of semiconductor materials, while other solar-heating systems use the sun’s energy to generate heat. The systems are not cheap, considering a 6.1-kilowatt system spanning 350 square feet can cost about $28,000 for parts and installation, although tax incentives may help defray the cost, says the Solar Energy Industries Association. Still, the market discounts them by 9 percent each year they age, even though the systems have a life span of about 25 years. | Read More