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Do Solar Panels Increase the Resale Value of Your Home?

On Vancouver Island, we’re all fairly well aware that an ocean view adds value to your home. If there were two houses that were identical in all respects, except that one had an ocean view, we would reasonably expect the resale price of that ocean view home to sell for a higher price than the one without. Of course, it’s difficult to ADD an ocean view to your home. In most cases, it’s either there, or it isn’t. But what if you could add something to your home that provided that market premium? What about solar panels?

In addition to the frequently cited benefits that solar panels provide – reducing your energy bills, extending the life of your roof, and of course, combatting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing our collective dependence on fossil fuels – can solar panels actually increase the resale value of your home? Let’s find out.

Landmark American Study

In 2015, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, published the most comprehensive study to date regarding the value that solar photovoltaic (PV) Systems can add to home sales transactions. They analyzed nearly 23,000 homes (of which 3,951 had PV systems) in eight States over 11 years, and concluded that home buyers were consistently willing to pay “PV home premiums” across different states, markets, and home types. This premium seemed to remain constant even as the cost of solar panels decreased over the time span of the study.

The researchers uncovered what they called the “green cachet” – that is, that some buyers would be willing to pay a certain amount for any PV system on a home they were considering purchasing. The average premium (that is, the increase in sale price) was reported to be approximately (USD) $15,000 for home with an average-sized residential PV system. It’s important to note that the market seems willing to pay a premium for a system that is within its first 10 years, but that premium declines rapidly thereafter, in light of the rapid depreciation of the panels.

To add credence to the data from the Berkeley Lab, the American National Renewable Energy Laboratory also published a study that concluded that homes in the U.S. with solar panels “sell 20% faster and for 17% more than those without”.

Here on the Island

No similar comprehensive study has been conducted in Canada regarding market valuation and solar arrays, but here in BC a solar PV system on your roof can at the very least be a competitive differentiator over other homes in your area. While BC residents may feel that they’re more environmentally conscious than the average Canadian, residential solar power hasn’t really taken off on the west coast – although we do consume less than the national average of electricity consumption per household. So those shiny new solar panels on your roof will certainly set your home apart from other homes in your area!

There are, of course, fluctuations and idiosyncrasies in every real estate market – that’s the advantage of using a Realtor who knows your specific area! As a general rule, however, installing solar panels on your roof can help you stand out from the crowd, may speed up the sales cycle, and could potentially command a premium on your sale price.  It might be worth a second look as an investment.

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Ladysmith Weekend Escape #1: The Saanich Peninsula & Sidney by the Sea

Vancouver Island is FULL of wonders, and Ladysmith is in the middle of it all!

Drive time from Ladysmith: around 90 minutes

Getting There from Ladysmith: Head south on the TransCanada Highway, over the Malahat and into Victoria. Turn left at Mackenzie Ave and follow the signs to exit onto the Patricia Bay Highway (towards the Victoria Airport and Swartz Bay Ferry terminal). Follow signs to Sidney! Enjoy the sights along the way!

The Saanich Peninsula

Even though it’s traditionally the driest part of Vancouver Island, rolling hills and lush farmlands characterize the Saanich Peninsula. Many people call this area the “Provence of the Island”. Backroad drives will uncover small wineries, farm stands, and marshlands teeming with birds. The peninsula is home to many delights, including the Victoria Polo Grounds and  the Climb the Boulders climbing gym.

3-story climbing wall at Climb the Boulders!

The family-favourite Victoria Butterfly Gardens is also nearby, featuring thousands of butterflies as well as frogs, tortoises, flamingos, and other tropical birds. And no visit to the Saanich Peninsula is complete without a trip to the world-famous Butchart Gardens, a National Historic Site that receives over a million visitors a year. After strolling through the Sunken Garden and the amazing Rose Garden, enjoy afternoon tea in the original Butchart family residence, overlooking the Italian Garden and the Saanich Inlet. In the summertime, there are evening concerts on the lawn, and on Saturday nights there’s a fireworks show. Not to be missed!

Fountain statue in the Italian Garden, Butchart Gardens

Sidney by the Sea

Along the shores of the Salish Sea, with a commanding view of Mount Baker and the Gulf Islands, lies the charming community of Sidney By the Sea. Accommodations abound in the Sydney area, for all tastes and budgets – but no matter where you stay, Sidney has something for everyone. Beacon Avenue holds shops and galleries that are perfect for poking around in – and on Thursday nights in the Summertime, this main street is closed to traffic and becomes a vibrant street market with live music!


Shopping in Sydney is always eclectic and engaging! For starters, “Booktown”, as Sidney is also known, is a bibliophile’s dream – there seems to be a bookstore on every corner! Our favourite is the Haunted Bookshop, with every one of its wonderful antique bookcases holding a treasure trove for readers.

Another favourite is Tanner’s Books, with its “Travel and Nautical Room” full of maps, charts, and nautical reference books. And Beacon Books has an excellent collection of Modern First Editions and rare collectibles.

See the Sights!

If you have the time (and you should make the time), wander on down to the Sidney Pier and catch the passenger ferry to the Sidney Spit. It’s a narrow, sandy strip of land that’s perfect for sunbathing and swimming, or watching the shorebirds on the tidal flats. For an extra adventure, rent some kayaks and make your own way over there – it’s only 5 km across the water from the Town of Sidney!

Sidney Spit (Gulf Islands National Park Reserve)

And while you’re down by the Sidney Pier, spend some time at the Shaw Center for the Salish Sea, Sidney’s award-winning aquarium. There are wolf eels, jellyfish, a giant Pacific octopus, and hundreds of other amazing marine animals. It’s a great place for kids and adults alike!

Eat and Drink!

All that walking and shopping is going to make you hungry. There are many excellent choices in Sidney, but our personal favourite is “the Farmer’s Daughter”, a fromagerie/bistro/wine bar that serves quality cheeses from around the world – with the wines to match! And of course, you can get artisan gift baskets and platters to take home!

And down at the Van Isle Marina, you’ll find the Sea Glass waterfront grill, another of our favourites. Their menu is mouth-watering and their wine list is almost as superb as their table service. Reservations are recommended!

Coming Home to Ladysmith

Summertime: Something we like to do when coming back from the Saanich Peninsula is to catch the Brentwood Bay ferry over to Mill Bay. It’s a short trip on the water, and gets you to the north side of the Malahat without having to go through Victoria traffic. A word of warning, though – the ferry only holds about 20 vehicles, so you may have to sit in the café and have an ice cream cone while you wait for the next sailing!

Autumn: We generally forego the Brentwood Bay ferry in the Fall, in favour of looping back through Victoria in order to stop at Goldstream Park on the way home to Ladysmith. Goldstream Provincial Park is in an old-growth temperate rain forest on the north-bound side of the highway at the start of the climb up the Malahat Drive. It’s one of the best places around to see salmon spawning, generally between October and December. And where there’s lots of salmon, there are a lot of eagles – so don’t forget your camera!