California MLS Launches Solar Data Fields

Real estate professionals who want to highlight a home’s solar energy features on the MLS usually have to do so under the “other” category, which may not capture enough attention from buyers. But that may soon change.

Read more: Solar Boosts Values But Selling Can Be Tricky

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California is developing new data standards for a special MLS field that will automatically populate solar data within the country’s 700 MLSs. This would help make it easier to find suitable properties for buyers who seek solar home features.

The California Regional MLS—the largest in the nation—is piloting the program with five fields to describe a home’s solar energy system: size, age, ownership, output, and the source of the data. Features such as a home’s square footage or heating and cooling have to be entered into the backend of an MLS database in order to “automatically populate” a set of options for real estate professionals, the Energy Department explains in a recent blog post.

This new feature provides more than 80,000 REALTORS® in California the ability to list specific solar energy data for the first time. California is home to many properties with solar features; some areas of the state are seeing a rate of solar adoption by homeowners as high as 20 percent.

CRMLS now touts hundreds of solar property listings, and MLSs in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire are looking into doing the same. “The new solar data standards ensure that real estate transactions remain secure and efficient, while also solidifying solar’s value in the real estate market,” the Energy Department notes in its blog post. “An enormous success for the growing solar industry, this collaboration demonstrates that when complementary industries embrace solar, both stand to benefit.” 

Source: “EERE Success Story: Real Estate Professionals Embrace Solar Power,” Energy.gov (June 9, 2017)

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