Zillow expands its solar evaluation listings to 84 million homes

When major real estate evaluators start including solar potential in their home appraisals, it’s clear the industry is gaining mainstream acceptance.

Last year, as the number of solar jobs expanded and solar growth continued apace, the online home-listing service provider Zillow added a solar potential listing to descriptions of 40 million homes, thanks to a partnership with two startups, Sun Number and Wave Solar.

The partnership must have proven to be valuable because Zillow announced yesterday it was adding the solar component to 44 million more home listings, more than doubling its commitment to promoting solar’s value.

According to Sun Number’s CEO David Hermann, the goal of the partnership is to raise awareness of solar among the general public and allow them to see the solar potential in homes they are considering buying.

Under Sun Number’s methodology, developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot program, homes receive a 1 to 100 score that allows homeowners to see if their rooftop is a good candidate for a solar-electric system before they buy the home.

A 2015 study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggested solar increases home sales prices by $15,000 on average.

Though Sun Number already provides its score to consumers on its website, it is self-selecting by nature. In other words, people visiting the Sun Number site are already thinking about adding solar to their roofs.

On the other hand, Zillow can introduce the idea of rooftop solar to millions of consumers and real estate professionals who might otherwise be unaware of its value.

Update: This story was edited on 10/18/17 at 11:55 am to reflect that the study done on how solar increases home values was done by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.