HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Environment & Energy » Environment & Energy (Group) » US Homeowners Want Solar,... » Reply #2

Response to kristopher (Original post)

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 ...


**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.

Reply to this post

Back to OP Alert abuse Link to post in-thread

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 2 replies Author Time Post
kristopher Oct 2013 OP
kristopher Nov 2013 #1
LineNew Reply Solar Power to the People: The Rise of Rooftop Solar Among the Middle Class
kristopher Nov 2013 #2
Please login to view edit histories.