A small house that has solar panels on the roof

Nearly Half of U.S. Homeowners in Favor of Rooftop Solar

Aniket

Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket on April 29, 2020

A significant portion of homeowners in the U.S., specifically 46%, are in favor of purchasing a solar rooftop system. The number has increased from 40% in 2016. With 6% of homeowners having already installed a system, the percentage of homeowners favoring solar actually becomes 52%.

A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in Oct 2019 provides insight into U.S. homeowners’ inclinations and behaviors toward a variety of sustainability measures, including but not limited to solar rooftop systems. The study used input from 3,627 U.S. adults. The study confirmed an increased inclination towards renewable energy adoption, particularly solar PV.

Region-wise Statistics

It was found that the highest number of people in the Pacific census region are either thinking about installing solar (54%) or have already installed (14%). California, particularly, leads the nation in percentage of electricity generated from small-scale solar.

Residents from the mountain states seemed to have highest percentage with already-installed solar at 17% but a considerably lower percentage that are thinking of switching to solar (36%).

The other areas, such as the South Central, Northeast and Midwest, had homeowners in the range of the national average (42-45%) thinking about purchasing solar rooftop systems, while the South Atlantic had more than half of its population in favor of the technology.

Reasons for the Trend

Although it is true that the compelling discussions on climate change in recent times have been a major driver for people’s acceptance of solar power, the top reason still remains financial savings. Nearly all of the surveyed homeowners (96%) said saving money on utility bills was their reason for considering rooftop solar.

The fact that grid electricity prices have shown an overall rising trend, while on the other hand solar equipment prices have dropped by over 70%, in the last decade makes it clear that solar can be an attractive option to save money spent on energy.

The second most cited reason for the inclination to rooftop solar is its environmental impact. A significant portion of the survey group (87%) indicated that helping the environment was a reason for their consideration of the technology.

While the above two reasons topped the chart, two other important reasons were the availability of the solar investment tax credit (67%) and family health (60%). As of 2020, 26% of the solar system’s cost can be recovered through tax savings in the accompanying year, thanks to the tax credit.

Other Findings

Though the survey shed light on the public’s overall sentiment about rooftop solar, it was a far more comprehensive survey and covered several other areas. Some of the important numbers derived from the survey are as follows:

  1. Renewables vs Fossil fuels: It was found that over three quarters (77%) of the survey participants agreed that the more important energy priority should be to develop renewable sources such as solar and wind.
  2. Sustainable consumption: Of the participants, 80% and 68% said they are reducing food and water wastage respectively, while 72% have reduced use of single-use plastics.
  3. Solar panel farms: While rooftop solar has been instrumental in the growth of renewables in the country, it is large-scale solar farms who have seriously boosted the cumulative solar power generation in the past few years. Ninety-two percent of the survey participants said they were in favor of more solar farms, while only 35% said they were in favor of coal mining.

Among other findings were the facts that increasing number of homeowners believed the government can do a better job at tackling environmental issues, these include not just the adoption of renewable energies but also action on protecting land-, air- and water-quality, as well as animal habitat.

To summarize, this Pew Research Center study showed that U.S. homeowners are displaying increased awareness for a shift towards sustainable living and the creation of a more environment-friendly society, and about half of them willing to purchase rooftop solar shows an extremely promising future of the solar energy sector in the nation.

References

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