Some critics of solar farms contend that they will have a significant, detrimental effect on neighborhood property values. The genuine effect that solar farms may have on property values was the subject of a recent, large-scale study. Homes are worth around 1.5% less close to utility-scale farms than farther away, according to the study’s findings.
To ascertain how much the proximity to solar farms affects home prices and how that impact compares to home prices prior to the solar farm’s installation, researchers from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory examined more than 1.8 million home sales and more than 1,500 large-scale photovoltaic projects in six states.
Home prices dropped 1.5% on average for houses less than 0.5 miles from a utility-scale solar project compared to those between 2 and 4 miles distant from the solar farm, according to research published in the journal Energy Policy. For houses within a 0.25-mile radius of the solar farm, the average drop is 2.3%.
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 asa 2021 study that analyzed property value fluctuations for homes near small or large wind turbines and solar farms.
The researchers observed no differences in property value losses for California, Connecticut, or Massachusetts when they examined whether they varied by state, the urbanity of the home, the size of the solar farm, or prior land use of the solar farm site. But, they did discover drops in Minnesota, North Carolina, and New Jersey of 4%, 5.8%, and 5.6%, respectively.
Homes next to solar farm sites that had previously been used for agriculture experienced an average 3% drop in property value, as did residences in rural areas, which experienced an average 4.2% decrease, and solar farms with bigger acreage, which experienced an average 3.1% decrease.
The study’s main finding, in my opinion, is that we need to account for the detrimental impact of renewable energy on property values, said Jeffrey Jacquet, an Ohio State University professor who was not involved in the research.
Even while there are modest drops in property values, the study does not account for the financial benefits of solar growth. This might result in cheaper utility costs or payments from the solar farm developer for property owners, and it might result in communities with lower taxes for local inhabitants.
The study’s authors emphasized that additional research is needed to fully comprehend why these price drops, even at low rates, are taking place locally.