New E2 (Energy + Environment) research from Market Strategies International finds that interest in residential solar installations is stronger and broader than expected among American consumers, even when those consumers are educated on associated costs. With few exceptions, this interest is strong across virtually all age and income groups.
Sixty-one percent of survey respondents overall are either somewhat or very interested in purchasing and installing a home solar system. The initial interest is strong across most age groups and all income groups, although only 46 percent of consumers over age 55 are interested. Three-quarters of the 18-34 age bracket and two-thirds of the 35-54 age bracket are interested.
Survey participants were informed that “The cost of a typical home solar system is about $30,000 and provides about 60% of a home’s electricity needs. The final costs of a solar system can be reduced through a federal tax credit that allows purchasers to deduct 30% of the systems’ cost from their income taxes. Some states also provide financial incentives for solar installations.” This information made 51 percent of respondents more interested in home solar systems, with consumers older than 55 again the only group to show less interest. A majority of respondents across every income group continued to show interest, even low-income households with incomes under $25,000.
“It’s pretty clear that most utilities in the US have to figure out an effective strategy for working with their customers who want solar power,” said Jack Lloyd, senior vice president, Energy Division at Market Strategies, whose team works with 20 of the top 30 regulated energy utilities in the United States and conducts a nationally based benchmarking service. “Companies will take different approaches in adapting to the situation, but rooftop solar appears to be poised to move beyond its early adopter niche and become a more mainstream phenomenon.”
— Solar Builder magazine