I have been asked this on several occasions in the past month with a variety of scenarios. I am not going to be able to give you a definitive answer. Under one scenario, the consumer was leasing the solar unit. In the first scenario, the unit could be purchased for the salvage price at the conclusion of the lease and would save the consumer a small amount per month over the course of the lease versus the cost of the lease. My understanding is that since the solar company remains the owner of the equipment, all of the tax credits, utility and government incentives and renewable energy credits remain with the owner of the equipment. In addition, if you sell the property during the lease period and the new buyer does not wish to assume the lease (which is likely) you may have to buy out the lease.
The second scenario involves purchasing the equipment which according to various websites costs around $20,000 after all of the incentives and tax credits. The solar cites and studies also claim that a home with solar sells for on average $20,000 more (in California). I would caution you that this statistic may only be a correlation and not a cause and effect relationship. It is very likely, that the home with solar also has many more upgrades, is well cared for and in a nicer more desirable neighborhood which accounts for the difference is sales price CORRELATING with the higher sales price. In any case, I would be very surprised if an appraiser actually gave $20,000 in value for a solar unit and since most of our buyers are financed buyers, the value of the solar would be moot. Decide on whether or not to install a solar unit based on the profit and loss of the unit itself and do not rely on an increase in the value of your home as a factor.