Home » Research: More Americans Getting Solar Panels Installed Than Ever Before

Research: More Americans Getting Solar Panels Installed Than Ever Before

More Americans Getting Solar Panels Installed Than Ever Before

Pew Research has an interesting report on the rise in demand for solar panel installations among home-owners. According to the Energy Information Administration, we had a a 34% rise in residential solar power installations in the US in 2021. That was 34% up from a year previously, while in the second quarter of 2022, residential solar set its fifth consecutive quarterly growth record.

It isn't every day that an industry sees those kinds of gains. This happened during the COVID pandemic, after all, when supply-chain issues were making solar installations more expensive. Even at that, experts estimate that only about 8% of homeowners in the US have taken the leap to solar - but 39% have given it serious consideration.

So we may have a few insights which we can glean from these statistics. One question we'd like to see answered is "what's holding that 39% back"? Readers, if you have considered getting solar panels installed on your home, but haven't yet, we'd be interested if you could please share your reasoning.

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Solar Installation Varies By Region

The strongest uptick we see in solar panel installs is in the western US. In the Pacific timezone, 17% of homes have solar installed, while in the Mountain timezone, 14% of homes have solar installed. Naturally, the region covering the sunny west coast and desert areas are all far more prone to take advantage of solar energy savings.

Compare the Midwest, at just 4% installed, and the East South Central region at 2%. The Midwest is held back by high cloud cover and more snow, but the East South Central (comprising Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee) is a bit more of a mystery. As for the Northeast, despite also getting its share of snow, it is closer to the national average at 7% installed.

Motives For Solar Installation Also Vary

When home-owners convert their homes to solar power, they are motivated both by reducing energy costs and doing their part to help save the environment. 92% of solar-powered home-owners were motivated by utility bill savings, and 64% expressed interest in claiming the solar tax credits. In tandem, 81% said they committed to solar to help the environment and 59% were motivated by personal / family well-being.

Recent years have seen a huge amount of reporting about environmental issues, from global climate change to air and water safety. We have especially seen more events in the news which point to increasing environmental concerns, such as more fires and drought in the west, and more hurricanes in the south. The information age is bringing us all the news faster and more efficiently, including climate science reporting. So it's only natural that more homeowners would be aware of environmental issues and be motivated to do their part to help mitigate climate emergency.

As for the health effects, these are related to environmental concerns. Burning fossil fuels isn't just bad for the environment, but makes an impact on our cardio-vascular health too. Just one residential solar panel installation is the equivalent of wiping out 3-4 tons of carbon emissions from fossil fuels per year. That is a surprisingly high impact! So even though installing solar panels doesn't have a direct impact on your health, that's still that much less coal burned at your local power plant.

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More Homeowners Can Be Expected to Switch to Solar

The recent tax breaks for solar installations, signed into law in the current administration, are just one sign that the drive for homeowners to convert to solar energy can only increase. Many more of those homeowners who are mulling over the leap to solar might just be waiting for an opportune time. Add to that, our growing collective concerns over environmental matters is likely to drive more solar conversions in the future.

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