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Good Deal or Not? “Solar Roof installed in 2012 saves $100/month” edition

by Prince Of Petworth — September 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm 13 Comments

This house is located at 22 16th Street, SE:

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The listing says:

“Totally renovated in 2009 on 3 finished levels. 3rd level has 4 skylights w/2 bedrooms, walk-in closet and 2 full baths. Lower lvl has heated floor room and full bath. Bamboo floors, recessed lighting throughout. Separate W/D room. Kitchen – raised panel white cabinetry, granite counters, Mosaic tile backsplash, Solar Roof installed in 2012 saves $100/month.”

You can see a virtual tour here.

This 3 bed/3.5 bath is going for $589,900.

  • That’s a lot of money to live that far into the ‘hood. And crime in the vicinity has gone up by 22% in the last year.

    • Anonymous

      For what it’s worth, I live around here, I like the neighborhood, and I haven’t noticed any spike in crime. $589K sounds high, yes, but not unrealistic. I’d say it’s comparable to other properties for sale.

  • seveneye

    On the one hand it is an ok deal for 3 bedrooms. But on the other, the 3rd bedroom and second full bath are in the basement. For my family that would be nice for guests, but inconvenient for day-to-day living. The reno looks very nice but I think $550-$575K is actually a more realistic price.

    • Anonymous

      Also, that bedroom in the basement isn’t a legal bedroom as it doesn’t look like it has any windows or a door to the outside. So technically it’s just a two-bedroom.

  • I’ve often thought these row houses are perfect candidates for some solar heating/power generation, given the long sloping flat roofs that aren’t visible from the ground. I think I’m going to investigate how much the investment would be. I really crank the AC in the summer in our house and would love to cut down on that electric bill a bit. Oh yeah, and help the environment…

    I really dislike this part of Capitol Hill. The interior is good looking, but the layout is odd and really would be difficult to rework due to the oddly placed staircase. But GDON? who knows…

    • Saw this link recently on Greater Greater Washington about someone who put solar panels on their DC row house. The guy links to a lot of additional resources (even spreadsheets who can help you calculate ROI, NPV, etc):


      You can deduct up to 30% of the cost of your federal taxes. DC has a program with a 500+ waiting list that will pay you a good chunk of cash directly if you’re willing to wait.

    • Anonymous

      Here’s a very useful calculator. We used Astrum for our 5 kW solar installation two years ago, and this calculator did a pretty good job of estimating the cost and benefits associated with our installation (it was slightly low on both, so the payback worked out about the same). Solar is a surprisingly good deal.

  • jcm

    That’s a really neat house. I don’t believe that $100/month savings from solar is accurate, though. For one thing, Redfin says it has gas heat, so they sure aren’t saving $100 a month in the no-AC months.

    • Anonymous

      I have 5 kW of solar on my house, and it produces more than we use during the fall, winter, and spring. We get a credit on our bill that carries forward to months when we do use more, like during the summer when our AC is running.

      • jcm

        Ah, I didn’t realize you could get a credit. Thanks for the info.

    • ERd

      I have house with a little less roof area than this one with solar panels. I see about a $70 a month reduction in the summer months when there is lots of sun. If you generate more than you use in a particular month you get a credit on your bill. Which is good for the winter months when its not as sunny.

  • ET

    A two bedroom at 13th and C SE sold for about $10,000 less (originally listed at $600,000 but after a few months listed at $580,000) but it was not finished as nice in the basement, no solar, no neat front porch so this seems like a fairly decent price.

  • Liz

    I think this is priced about right. We live a couple blocks away and paid just under this amount for an older house, but one with a legal rental on the ground floor. The neighborhood feels very safe, and the 20 minute walk to Eastern Market or H street seems worth having the extra space.


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