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Study: Climate Change Will Add Value to Residential Rooftop Solar  

Climate change will increase the future value of residential rooftop solar panels by up to 19 percent across the U.S. by the end of the century, according to a study led by the University of Michigan. 

The study — which was published in the journal Nature Climate Change — showed that for many U.S. households, increased earnings from residential rooftop solar could total up to hundreds of dollars annually in the sample timeframe. 

Authors analyzed data from 2,000 households in 17 U.S. cities and estimated air-conditioning demand and solar-panel performance under future climates using a moderate climate-warming scenario called RCP-4.5. The value of rooftop solar panels increased in nearly all the cities across warm and cold locations. 

The study defined the value of solar (VOS) as household-level financial benefits from electricity bill savings plus revenues from selling excess electricity to the grid, minus the initial installation costs.  

“This is the first study to quantify the value of rooftop solar under climate change, and we show that households across the U.S. will realize greater cost savings from rooftop solar under future weather than under historic weather,” said study lead author Mai Shi, a former U-M visiting doctoral student now at Tsinghua University in Beijing. 

The expected financial gains seen in the study were driven largely by increased demand for residential air-conditioning as the climate warms. The other key factor affecting the value of rooftop photovoltaic systems, researchers said, is future solar-panel performance in response to rising air temperatures and changes in cloud cover. 

Learn more here. 

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