1 in 4 homeowners plan to install solar panels in next 5 years, survey finds

Main conclusions

  • 42% of survey respondents have or are installing a solar panel system
  • 36% of survey respondents are considering installing a solar panel system
  • 27% of these respondents plan to switch to solar power in the next five years
  • 63% of survey respondents would pay more for a home with solar panels than a home without
  • Texas and Florida have the highest number of residents interested in solar power

There seems to be hope for clean energy in America. A new EcoWatch study of 1,000 homeowners found that solar panels are becoming an increasingly popular energy alternative in the United States.

The majority of homeowners interested in solar energy say they are looking to reduce their energy bills. But a number of respondents also cited wanting to help the environment and taking advantage of tax incentives and solar rebates as key reasons for switching to solar power.

On the other hand, the majority of those who are not interested in installing solar panels say they are “too expensive”, even though the cost of solar has dropped by more than 60% in the last decade. .1

Still, we expect more solar panels to be installed on homes across the country in the near future. This rings especially true in the South and Midwest, as homeowners in those regions say they are most interested in solar power, with Texas and Florida leading the way.

Owners with Solar Vs. Owners Without

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the residential solar market experienced its fifth consecutive year of growth in 2021, up 30% from 2020.2 And the findings of the EcoWatch survey support this trend.

Homeowners with solar panel systems

Of the 1,000 respondents, 42% of US homeowners say they have installed or are installing solar panels on their homes. This is a notable increase from a similar (albeit larger) survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2019, which found that only 6% of more than 2,500 homeowners surveyed had solar panels installed at home. the House.3

Breaking down by region, a higher percentage of owners in the West have already installed solar panels, followed by the Northeast, South and Midwest. However, more people in the Northeast are currently installing solar power, followed by the South, West, and Midwest regions.

Owners who have already installed solar panels*:

  • Midwest: 25%
  • Northeast : 28%
  • South: 25%
  • West: 43%

Owners in the process of installing solar panels*:

  • Midwest: ten%
  • Northeast : 16%
  • South: 14%
  • West: 11%

*Round to the nearest whole number

Plan to go solar

Of those who do not actively use or install solar power systems, the majority are still interested in solar power. Our investigation revealed that 36% of homeowners plan to install solar panels in the future, 27% say they plan to install solar in the next five years.

This next part gets interesting. It looks like solar power is becoming more desirable in places where it hasn’t been historically, with the majority of Midwestern homeowners saying they are considering switching to solar power.

Homeowners seriously considering installing solar panels*:

  • Midwest: 30%
  • Northeast : 23%
  • South: 29%
  • West: 17%

Homeowners Somewhat Considering Installing Solar Panels*:

  • Midwest: 17%
  • Northeast : 16%
  • South: 15%
  • West: 14%

*Round to the nearest whole number

By number of respondents, Texas has the highest number of homeowners interested in purchasing solar panels, followed by Florida and Georgia. Interestingly, Texas, Florida, and Georgia were also among the top seven states people moved to in 2021, which could mean many new homeowners in those states are looking to install solar power.4

Interested, but hesitant to install solar panels

So what’s the backlog for homeowners who said they plan to install solar panels but not in the next five years?

The majority of respondents in this group say the high initial cost of switching to solar power is the main reason for their hesitation. This is followed by a lack of knowledge about the benefits of solar energy.

Top reasons for not installing solar energy in the next five years:

  1. The initial cost of solar is too high.
  2. The respondent wants to know more about the benefits of solar energy before making the switch.
  3. The respondent wants to know more about the companies that install solar energy in his area.

Why are homeowners interested in solar?

Investing in a solar power system has many benefits, including reducing your carbon footprint, earning tax credits, and improving your energy independence, to name a few.

Here are the top three reasons to go solar, according to the EcoWatch survey:

Homeowners express many different reasons for wanting to switch to solar power, but the most appealing benefit is the reduction in utility bills.

More than half of respondents who have opted for solar power or want to use it say that reducing their energy bills is the main attraction to switching to solar power. This motivation is followed by the desire to help the environment and wanting to take advantage of tax credits and solar rebates.

A handful of homeowners also cite a desire to increase the value of their home and have more control over their electricity usage as reasons for going solar.

Why aren’t homeowners interested in solar power?

Solar power is not the best or most viable option for every homeowner. Even some homeowners who want to install solar panels find barriers to doing so, such as price, lack of sunny days in their area, or the specifics of their roof.

The majority of respondents who would not consider installing solar panels on their homes say they are put off by the high initial costs of a solar photovoltaic system. This reason is followed by respondents thinking solar panels are ugly and not wanting to maintain the technology.

How Solar Panels Affect Perceived Home Value

Whether or not solar panels increase a home’s property value has been debated, but according to the EcoWatch survey, the majority of homeowners agree that they do.

The investigation revealed that 70% of homeowners agree that solar panels increase the resale value of a home, and 63% of homeowners say they would pay more for a home with solar panels than one without.

Shedding Light on the Common Stigma of Solar Panels

Although solar panels have been around since the 1950s, many misconceptions and stigmas still surround them.

Are solar panels too expensive?

Among the survey respondents, 60% of homeowners agree solar panels are too expensive. This is the main reason homeowners say they wouldn’t consider installing them. While it’s impossible to minimize the costs associated with switching to solar power, it has become much more affordable in recent years.

The mid-size residential solar panel system has gone from $40,000 in 2010 to around $20,000 in 2021, and those prices don’t take into account solar incentives that can reduce your total system cost.5 Meanwhile, the cost of retail electricity is rising, with the average electricity bill rising from around $110 in 2010 to $122 in 2021.6

When homeowners calculate the energy savings – coupled with solar incentives, tax credits and rebates and solar financing options – many realize that solar power is much more affordable than previously thought.

Do solar panels only work when the sun is shining?

According to the EcoWatch survey, 40% of homeowners think solar power only works when the sun is shining.

Although solar panels are most efficient when they absorb direct sunlight on sunny days, they still generate power on cloudy days. Indeed, photovoltaic solar panels can work with both direct and indirect sunlight.

Even on days with heavy cloud cover, solar panels typically generate 10-25% of their standard power output. Rain can also be beneficial for solar panels as it washes away dirt and dust that can obstruct sunlight absorption.

That said, solar panels do not produce electricity when the sun goes down. Many homeowners install solar energy storage systems to use at night or during periods of severe weather when there may be power outages.

Are solar panels too ugly?

It’s hard to argue with this statement: 31% of homeowners think solar panels are ugly.

The majority of rooftop solar panel systems are bulky and unobtrusive. But the aesthetics of solar panels have come a long way since their development in 1954, and there’s more hope on the horizon.

Many have praised thin-film solar panels for their sleek design, but since they’re not that efficient, they’re not an ideal choice for powering an entire household. Fortunately, companies like Tesla have developed technologies like solar shingles to make high-efficiency solar modules more aesthetically pleasing.

As it stands, solar tiles are not as widely available and are much more expensive than standard rooftop solar panels. But as the technology becomes more popular and cheaper to produce, solar roofs will become more accessible to homeowners.

Methodology

EcoWatch surveyed 1,000 homeowners across the United States to gather information about solar panel ownership. For the purposes of the survey, all respondents owned their homes despite having outstanding debts on their mortgages.

The age of survey respondents ranged from 18 to 54, with the majority falling in the 25 to 44 age bracket. The sample size was approximately 52% female and 48% male. The majority of respondents had a household income between $25,000 and $49,999.

This survey was conducted between July 14 and 15, 2022, using Pollfish.