World Wildlife Fund WWF Climate Blog

WWF-US climate blog maintained by the staff of the WWF climate change program.

filtered by category: Region: North America

  • Date: 30 January 2014
  • Author: Keya Chatterjee

The nation heard the facts clearly from President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address: Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar. And for good reason. Every corner of the continental US receives more abundant sunshine than the world’s solar leader, Germany. As prices continue to drop, that means more and more Americans are now becoming more interested in harnessing the power of the sun to provide electricity for their homes. The statistics are impressive, not only does another American home or business go solar every four minutes, but:

  • Two million homes in America already have solar panels.
  • Six of the ten largest new home builders now include solar in new construction.

From an environmental perspective, there is no question that this move away from dirty energy is good for the planet, and critical for tackling climate change. What does this mean for the pocketbook of homeowners? And how does solar effect home values and how long they sit on the market?

Solar Homes Sell For More

A 2011 study from the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) looked at home sales prices for almost 2,000 solar homes in California, as compared to a set of 70 thousand non-solar homes. Solar homes were the clear winners, with an average sales premium of $17,000 for an average-sized system (of 3 KW).

A follow-up study released in December 2013 found even more good news for solar aficionados. It turns out that price premiums for solar are substantially larger than would be estimated by an appraiser based on either the income approach (based on the value of the energy the panels produce in their lifetime) or the replacement cost approach (based on how much it would cost to replace the panels). The authors conclude that there may be a “green cache” worth real money and that some buyers are willing to pay for homes with solar simply because they appreciate avoiding the transaction costs associated with choosing and installing solar panels themselves.

Solar Homes Sell Faster

The question of ‘days on market’ is somewhat less studied, but the studies that exist show the solar homes sell faster than the equivalent non-solar home. A 2006 study from DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory looked at sales in a development of new homes with solar. The 257 homes that had solar built by Shea Homes sold within a year, which was two years faster than expected. A group of Clarum Homes houses with solar sold in 23 months, as compared to 28 months for non-solar homes.

“The Next Granite Countertop”

The US solar industry is growing at an unprecedented rate, and residential solar panels appear to be a welcome addition for homes on the market. The new home market is particularly interesting. A recent headline from Bloomberg called solar panels “the next granite countertop for homebuilders.” Those new homes will be on the resale market before you know it.

Want to learn more? Check out this article that busts seven common myths about rooftop solar.

  • Date: 03 October 2013
  • Author: Robert Litterman

Looking back twenty years from now at the climate debate, people will ask, “How could this go on for so long? Why did it take humanity so long to price greenhouse gases appropriately?”  The only answer is some sort of collective insanity.

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  • Date: 28 June 2013
  • Author: Nick Sundt

At their annual meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, from 21 to 24 June 2013, the U.S. Conference of Mayors adopted a resolution supporting and advancing resilient communities. Noting recent climate extremes and their impacts, the resolution says that "the country needs more resilient communities, able to endure and overcome these climate change, energy, and economic challenges" and that "taking action now will help save lives and increase preparedness to destructive climate change impacts, expand energy independence, strengthen local economies, and save energy and money."

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  • Date: 25 June 2013
  • Author: Lou Leonard

In a press release issued by World Wildlife Fund on 25 June 2013, WWF's Lou Leonard, VP of Climate Change, issued the following statement in reaction to President Obama's announcement today about his administration's efforts to address climate change.

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  • Date: 18 June 2013
  • Author: Nick Sundt

Smart companies innovate their way through business challenges. A new analysis shows they can also innovate to solve a global challenge – and profit along the way.

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  • Date: 17 June 2013
  • Author: Nick Sundt

Forty five leading local elected officials in the U.S. on 17 June 2013 committed to creating more resilient cities, towns, and counties in the face of unprecedented extreme weather and energy challenges that threaten communities across the country. The “Inaugural Signatories” of the Resilient Communities for America Agreement letter pledged to take cost-effective actions to prepare and protect their communities from the increasing disasters and disruptions fueled by climate change, such as heat waves, floods, droughts, severe storms, and wildfires. In addition, they called for more action and support from federal leaders.

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  • Date: 10 June 2013
  • Author: Nick Sundt

President Barack Obama walks with President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China on the grounds of the Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage, Calif., June 8, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In a press release issued on 10 June 2013, WWF's Samantha Smith, leader of the WWF’s Global Climate & Energy Initiative, responds to the pledge announced on 8 June 2013 by U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.

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  • Date: 06 June 2013
  • Author: NIck Sundt

In an event co-sponsored by WWF and Climate Desk Live on 6 June 2013, journalist Chris Mooney hosts a discussion about changes in weather patterns in the northern hemisphere. Featured speakers were Stu Ostro, senior meteorologist at the Weather Channel and Jennifer Francis, a climate researcher at Rutgers University.

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  • Date: 03 June 2013
  • Author: Nick Sundt

Join us for a joint Climate Desk Live and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) event moderated by Chris Mooney featuring Stu Ostro, Senior Director of Weather Communications at the Weather Channel; and Jennifer Francis, Research Professor, Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University. They will be discussing the alarming science behind climate change's increasingly wild weather. Chris Mooney is a science and political journalist, podcaster, and the host of Climate Desk Live.

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  • Date: 02 June 2013
  • Author: Nick Sundt

North Carolina State University, in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is hosting from 3 to 12 June 2013 a virtual symposium on climate change adaptation for states, tribes and local governments. The series of 12 sessions "will bring together tribal, state and local stakeholders, EPA representatives, and experts from a variety of sectors to consider the impact of EPA’s new Climate Change Adaptation Plan on the implementation of federal environmental programs, and to present case studies, tools and solutions to some of the most pressing climate change adaptation challenges."

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