We continuously hear about big solar projects, with panels fitted somewhere in a far-away desert, where the generation of solar power is massive, or large office buildings and factories, having their own solar power system on the rooftop. But how about the average citizen? Who installs personal solar panels on their residential house rooftop? The Center for American Progress (CAP) has tried to answer that.
In a survey conducted among American residents, CAP asked questions to find out how income per household relates to installing (or not) a personal solar power generating system. The most surprising finding, opposite to common expectations, is that the middle-class with an annual income between $40k and 90k, most often turns to purchasing solar panels.
Within the middle-class neighborhoods of Arizona, California and New Jersey, this range is even narrower. The group, which showed the largest increase in installations for 2011 and 2012, includes residents with income between $30K and 50K.
In these three states, the figures clearly indicate the difference. It is not only that middle-class income residents install most personal solar systems, but also from year to year the number within the group also increases. CAP suggests that the findings should be used by policymakers, who should provide enough support, so that the group will continue expanding.
The explanation behind the statistics is relatively simple, but probably not so obvious. If a households have enough to make an initial investment, over the years this money will be returned in the form of savings from electricity bills. In addition, of course, there is the solar lease model, which helps residents, who prefer to pay in installments than all up-front. In any case, we can only hope that soon this clear distinction will disappear, and solar panels will be affordable and common on residential rooftops, regardless of the resident’s income.