The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) has all sorts of goodies for homeowners looking to be more energy efficient and/or electrified. And the homeowners that are most likely to be at the front of the line for such things are solar homeowners. So, what are they most interested in? And can solar installers help?
Palmetto Solar recently conducted a survey of 350+ solar homeowners about their interest in the new energy efficiency credits and rebates found in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. What IRA incentives are solar consumers interested in?
Energy-efficiency (but earlier rather later)
48% of solar homeowners are satisfied with their home energy efficiency. But this number increases over the course of their system’s lifetime, according to Palmetto:
When responses to the question, “How satisfied are you with the energy efficiency in your home?” were mapped to respondents’ solar ownership status, we found that the percentage of homeowners who indicated that they are either satisfied or very satisfied with the energy efficiency in their home increases over the course of solar ownership. While satisfaction dips in year two before increasing in year three, we found that solar homeowners’ interest in energy-efficiency upgrades followed the same trend, indicating this might be a time when solar homeowners seek to further optimize their energy efficiency.
More than half (58%) of solar homeowners have already invested in high-efficiency appliances—one of the energy efficiency upgrades that may now be eligible for financial incentives.
Battery storage vs EV interest
61% of solar homeowners are interested in solar energy battery storage now that the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 has passed.
Among the home energy-efficiency upgrades presented in our survey, solar battery storage captured the highest level of interest in four out of five U.S. markets. (The exception was the Northeast, where interest in battery storage came in second to HE appliances at 57% vs. 59% respectively.) Overall interest was highest in the Western and Midwestern states, where 70% of homeowners indicated interest in smart home battery storage knowing that incentives may now be available.
But even more solar homeowners are interested in buying an electric vehicle (more than 78%). That’s not because of battery attachment rates either. Only 5 percent of the solar owners surveyed currently owned a battery vs 11 percent of those surveyed already owning or leasing a hybrid or electric vehicle.
Batteries lead in terms of financial impact
71% of solar homeowners consider price the most important factor when evaluating home or vehicle energy-efficiency investments, followed by incentives and tax credits, then savings (both around 50%).
This is where interest in battery storage comes in again: Solar customers understand the return on investment possibilities:
When asked which upgrades might have the greatest impact on their financial savings, respondents favored solar battery storage and additional solar panels, revealing an awareness of the Battery storage provides the greatest perceived impact on long-term financial savings, according to solar owners 10 unique benefits each investment can provide. More than a quarter (26.5%) of solar owners believe battery storage will have the greatest long-term impact on their financial savings.
In contrast, while solar owners believe that electric vehicles have the greatest impact on the environment, battery powered cars ranked last in terms of long-term financial savings.
— Solar Builder magazine