Mother Earth News' Vikram Aggarwal analyzed solar market values in 15 cities across the nation. Solar panels have more benefits than just reducing electricity costs--those "mini power plants" can actually add additional market value to a home. 

EnergySage and Sandia National Laboratories conducted an analysis to estimate solar market values in 15 cities across the United States. Their methodology for the ranking was to use an online calculator, the PV Value tool, that allows real estate appraisers and other industry professionals to determine the market value of solar energy systems.  

In five out of the top 15 cities, solar PV systems are worth more than what they cost. These cities are San FranciscoLos AngelesLas VegasNew York City, and Newark, N.J. All five cities have an retained income value exceeding 100%. 

"Remember, market value is only one factor that plays into the  financial benefits of solar. Until you sell your home, your solar panel system is also saving you significant cash, and can even earn you money after you’ve reached payback. In addition to the financial bump that solar value provides if you sell your home, your solar energy system provides you with electricity, allowing you to reduce or even eliminate your utility electricity bills. In some areas, your solar panels can also generate income from the sale of  solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs)."

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