Badly-sited solar parks affect house prices


Researchers at the University of Rhode Island have analyzed how solar parks affect the value of nearby houses.

The group studied 419,258 property sales related to 284,364 properties within three miles of 208 utility scale or large commercial solar plants in the states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. With the property sales studied having occurred before and after installation of the PV fields in question, some 18,000 transactions took place within half a mile of a solar development site and 71,337 within a mile.

With reference to control properties further away from the solar plant sites – and presuming houses near farms and forests would suffer worse depreciation from the arrival of solar than homes near brownfield or capped landfill areas – the researchers established the arrival of a solar park reduced the price of houses within a mile by 1.7% but had no effect further afield. “That's not an enormous figure, but if you sum all of the properties within one mile of an array, that number becomes pretty big in terms of the total loss of value,” said research co-author, Corey Lang.

The researchers concluded nearby solar installations act as a “disamenity” and said: “This translates into approximately $279 per year that buyers are willing to spend on a home purchase to avoid living near a solar installation.”

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“We should be building in areas that don't have a lot of properties close to the array, ” Lang stated. “And not building on farm and forest land in nonrural areas would significantly help the calculation.”

The findings of the research were presented in the study Property value impacts of commercial scale solar energy in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, published on the university's website.

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