Property Values of Homes Near Solar Farms Appraised in New Study
Some opponents to solar farms have argued that they will have a major, negative impact on local property values. A new study, and the largest of its kind, sought out to analyze the true impact that solar farms could have on property values. The researchers found that homes within a 0.5-mile radius of utility-scale farms have values of about 1.5% less than properties farther away.
Researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory analyzed more than 1.8 million home sales as well as more than 1,500 large-scale photovoltaic projects in six states to determine how much the proximity to the solar farms impacts home prices and how that impact compares to the home prices before the solar farm was installed.
The findings, published in the journal Energy Policy, found that home prices decreased 1.5% on average for properties within 0.5 miles of a utility-scale solar project compared to properties located 2 to 4 miles away from the solar farm. The average decline is around 2.3% for homes closer to the solar farm, within a 0.25-mile radius.
The findings are consistent with previous research, including a 2020 study that found minor property value declines for homes within 1 mile of a solar array as well as a 2021 study that analyzed property value fluctuations for homes near small or large wind turbines and solar farms.
When reviewing whether property value declines differ based on state, urbanicity of the home, size of the solar farm, or previous land use of the site of the solar farm, the researchers found no changes for property values in California, Connecticut or Massachusetts. They did, however, find declines of 4% in Minnesota, 5.8% in North Carolina and 5.6% in New Jersey.
The only significant differences in property values were observed for homes near solar farm sites previously used for agriculture (average 3% decrease), rural locations (average 4.2% decrease) and solar farms with larger areas (average 3.1% decrease).
“I think the takeaway is that the effect of renewables on property values is small on average, but it is not zero, and we need to correct for that negative impact,” Jeffrey Jacquet, a professor at Ohio State University who was not involved in the study, told Inside Climate News.
While there are slight property value decreases, the study does not take into account financial incentives of solar development. For property owners, this could mean lower utility bills or payments from the solar farm developer; for communities, residents could benefit from reduced taxes.
The study authors highlighted that the findings require further investigation to understand at a local level why these price declines, even at low rates, are happening.
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