Residential Solar Power: A Bright Future for American Homes

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by | Nov 10, 2023

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The adoption of solar energy in American households is experiencing a remarkable surge, as affirmed by Forbes Home’s recent survey.

While traditional energy sources grapple with sustainability concerns, a staggering 89.6% of homeowners with solar panels are resoundingly content with their choice. However, what underpins this widespread approval? Is it merely the allure of reduced energy costs, or does it delve into the nuanced realm of energy independence? The survey looks deep into the motivations, experiences, and expectations of solar panel owners, offering insights that may reshape the trajectory of residential solar energy.

Nearly 90% of Residents Are Satisfied With Their Solar Panels

In the survey, 89.6% of homeowners expressed satisfaction with their residential solar panel installations. This statistical finding not only serves as an encouraging indicator but also highlights a broader trend of homeowners embracing renewable energy solutions. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), there were approximately 3.3 million households in the United States equipped with solar panels as of 2022.

While the initial costs of purchasing and installing the best solar panels can vary between $10,000 to $18,000, depending on the size and complexity of the system, many homeowners perceive the long-term financial benefits as outweighing the initial investment. Furthermore, the ongoing reduction in the cost of solar panels has made them more affordable.

Data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory indicates that the cost of solar panel installation has dropped by over 70% over the past decade. This cost reduction has undeniably contributed to the increasing homeowner satisfaction rates. The nearly 90% satisfaction rate among solar panel owners offers a compelling narrative for individuals considering a switch to renewable energy.

When it comes to putting their trust in solar power, homeowners seem to be singing its praises, at least according to our survey results. An impressive 82.6% of those surveyed said they would likely recommend installing solar panels to others. These reports reinforce the idea that solar panels are not just an eco-friendly option, but also one that provides a satisfactory experience to most homeowners. With just 4% nesting within the “unlikely” categories, the data overwhelmingly suggests that solar panel installation isn’t just a passing trend but a substantial, reliable investment that most people are happy to endorse.

Homeowners With Solar Find Energy Independence

The desire for energy independence emerged as the most motivating factor for homeowners when installing solar panels. Following closely behind were considerations of cost savings (66%), government incentives (56.3%), and environmental concerns (50%). The concept of energy independence has been gaining substantial traction among Americans. In 2020, SEIA reported a 37% growth in solar power adoption in the U.S. They projected that between 2021 and 2025, there would be a 42% increase in solar power installations across the country compared to the period from 2015 to 2020.

Interestingly, the actual benefits experienced by homeowners post-solar panel installation revealed a subtle but insightful shift in priorities. While energy independence remained a significant advantage, reported by 55% of respondents, the importance of environmental benefits increased significantly to 42% after installation. In contrast, government incentives dipped to 18%, possibly because once tax credits or rebates were received, they no longer contributed to ongoing satisfaction in the same way that sustained energy independence or reduced bills did.

Contrary to the widespread expectation that solar panels would inevitably lead to lower electricity costs, a significant portion of respondents reported that their electricity bills had either increased considerably (23% of respondents) or increased slightly (38% of respondents) since they installed their solar systems. Despite these complexities, 24% of respondents did report that their bills had decreased, either slightly or significantly, indicating the potential for long-term savings.

Most Homeowners find Solar Panel Maintenance Affordable

Maintenance is a frequently disregarded facet of solar panel system ownership, yet it remains critical for guaranteeing optimal performance and a longer lifespan. The survey findings indicate that the majority of homeowners invest between $100 and $500 annually in solar panel maintenance. It is noteworthy that a smaller but notable segment (3%) has refrained from spending any funds on maintenance and repairs, which could either attest to the system’s durability or represent a potentially risky oversight. Consistent and cost-effective maintenance plays a vital role in ensuring that the solar panel system functions at its peak, potentially leading to enhanced energy output and long-term savings.

Bottom Line

The Forbes Home survey results convey an optimistic outlook for residential solar panels in the United States. A large number of homeowners express satisfaction with their solar panel systems, underscoring the increasing appeal of solar energy within U.S. households. These findings signify a growing residential solar market where the benefits outweigh the perceived drawbacks for most homeowners. Solar energy emerges not only as a sustainable choice but also as a financially prudent one.

To gain insights into the installations and sentiments related to solar panels among Americans, Forbes Advisor commissioned a survey of 1,000 Americans, conducted by the market research company OnePoll. The survey adhered to the Market Research Society’s code of conduct and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 points with 95% confidence. The OnePoll research team holds membership with the MRS and has corporate membership with the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

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