This investment pays off in more ways than one. 

By Katie Holdefehr
May 23, 2018

When you're doing work on your home, you not only want to make upgrades that fit your style, but that also boost your home's value (even if you don't plan to sell anytime soon). While it can be hard to decipher which home features are trendy in the moment and which are timeless investments that will continue to pay off, recent analysis from RealEstate.com can help determine which features are really worth the expense. 

RELATED: How the “Joanna Gaines Real Estate Effect” Could Help You Sell Your Home for More

Looking at listing descriptions from 1.9 million home sales between 2016 and 2017, RealEstate.com found that entry-level homes mentioning "solar panels" sold for 40 percent more than expected. Of all the features studied, from farmhouse sinks to Jacuzzi tubs, solar panels brought in the highest sales premium for starter homes. Clearly, energy efficiency and sustainable energy are top concerns for first-time home buyers—and they're willing to pay for it.  

And this investment pays off in more ways than one. Besides seeing higher sales premiums when you eventually decide to sell your home, a solar power system could pay for itself over time by saving you money on your electricity bill every month.

Not surprisingly, Tesla is at the forefront of this ongoing trend. While at-home solar energy used to mean installing some unsightly solar panels on the roof, Tesla is working to integrate "invisible solar cells" into the architecture of the home. At first glance, the Tesla Solar Roof looks like an ordinary roof (the visual proof: it's featured in the image above), but some of the tiles are actually solar tiles that work with a Powerwall to store energy collected during the day that can be used any time. Even if the grid goes down, your lights will stay on. 

For a solar roof to be competitive with the cost of a regular roof, Consumer Reports estimated that it would have to cost less than $24.50 per square foot. Tesla beat that pricing by creating a roof that costs just $21.85 per square foot, if made up of 35 percent solar tiles and 65 percent non-solar tiles. Depending upon your household's electricity demands (whether you have an electric car, electric heating units, etc.) and the average sunlight in your area, you can choose to incorporate more or less solar tiles into the design, creating a customized solar roof that matches your household's energy needs. 

Solar Roof tile vs. hail at 110 mph

A post shared by Tesla (@teslamotors) on

Looking for one more reason a solar roof is the best investment you can make? The Tesla Solar Roof comes with the best warranty in the industry—"the lifetime of your house, or infinity, whichever comes first"—so you'll never have to pay for roofing repairs. Convinced yet? You can make your reservation here—the company is starting installations this year.