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Wed Oct 30, 2013, 06:58 PM

US Homeowners Want Solar, Find Two New Reports

US Homeowners Want Solar, Find Two New Reports

Chris Meehan
October 28, 2013

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Market Strategies’ report, released on Oct. 16, is based on 1,001 interviews conducted in June of 2013. The survey and the resulting E2 (Energy & Environment) report found that interest in residential solar energy installations is stronger and broader than expected. That includes when homeowners are informed that the average PV system still costs about $30,000, Market Strategies said. “With few exceptions, this interest is strong across virtually all age and income groups,” the company found. “A majority of respondents across every income group continued to show interest, even low-income households with incomes under $25,000.”

Overall, Market Strategies found that 61 percent or respondents were 'somewhat' or 'very interested' in purchasing and installing a home solar system. The response was most favorable (75 percent) among the youngest age group —18 to 34 year olds — while 66 percent of those between the ages of 35 and 54 were interested. Consumers over 55 years old were least interested with only 46 percent showing interest.

The CAP report (released Oct. 21), “Solar Power to the People: The Rise of Rooftop Solar Among the Middle Class” based its results on who has installed solar in three of the U.S.’s top markets: Arizona, California and New Jersey, and used U.S. Census data to determine median household incomes for each zip code. In all, it looked at more than 100,000 solar homes installed from as early as 2002.

As suggested by the title, CAP’s report found the highest among middle-class homeowners. “Through our analysis of solar installation data from Arizona, California, and New Jersey, we found that these installations are overwhelmingly occurring in middle-class neighborhoods that have median incomes ranging from $40,000 to $90,000,” the report stated. “The areas that experienced the most growth from 2011 to 2012 had median incomes ranging from $40,000 to $50,000 in both Arizona and California and $30,000 to $40,000 in New Jersey.”

“Rooftop solar has become an important energy resource for the middle class,” said report author ...


http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2013/10/us-homeowners-want-solar-find-two-new-reports?cmpid=SolarNL-Tuesday-October29-2013

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Sun Nov 3, 2013, 09:22 PM

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Wed Nov 6, 2013, 01:56 AM

2. Solar Power to the People: The Rise of Rooftop Solar Among the Middle Class

Solar Power to the People: The Rise of Rooftop Solar Among the Middle Class
By Mari Hernandez October 21, 2013

Homeowners across the United States have begun a rooftop solar** revolution. Since 2000, more than 1,460 megawatts of residential solar installations have been installed across the country, and more than 80 percent of that capacity was added in the past four years.1 In 2012 alone, rooftop solar installations reached 488 megawatts, a 62 percent increase over 2011 installations and nearly double the installed capacity added in 2010.2

The question is: Who is buying up all of those solar power systems? Through our analy- sis of solar installation data from Arizona, Califaornia, and New Jersey, we found that these installations are overwhelmingly occurring in middle-class neighborhoods that have median incomes ranging from $40,000 to $90,000. The areas that experienced the most growth from 2011 to 2012 had median incomes ranging from $40,000 to $50,000 in both Arizona and California and $30,000 to $40,000 in New Jersey. Additionally, the distribution of solar installations in these states aligns closely with the population distribution across income levels.

But many within the electric utility industry have claimed that distributed solar is mainly being adopted by wealthy customers. Concerned by the threat that rooftop solar’s rapid growth poses to traditional utility business models, some utility execu- tives have used this claim to support a rising desire within the industry to alter existing solar programs and policies. The idea is that through solar policies such as net metering, middle- and low-income customers who cannot afford to go solar are subsidizing the wealthy customers who can.

In this issue brief, we show that rooftop solar is not just being adopted by the wealthy; it is, in fact, mostly being deployed in neighborhoods where median income ranges from $40,000 to $90,000. In the first section, we present the overall findings from our income analysis of solar installation data from Arizona, California, and New Jersey. We then discuss the implications of those results in the context of the current growth of rooftop solar and the ongoing discussion of solar policies that will affect its future growth.

California, Arizona, and New Jersey are ...


http://www.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/RooftopSolar-4.pdf

**Residential solar photovoltaic, or PV, systems—also referred to as “distributed” or “rooftop solar” in this report— consist of an array of solar panels that are roof or ground mounted to produce electricity that is either fed back into the electric grid—grid connected—or solely used onsite by the residential building—off grid.

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