Key takeaways


.S. neighborhoods are transforming, with solar power taking center stage. Homeowners are crucial to this renewable energy saga, making the big decision to switch to solar. These choices aren't just about saving on electricity bills—they're writing the future story of how we power our lives and showing us the benefits of living in a sun-powered home.

A recent report by Aurora Solar, a leader in residential solar sales and design software, looks into a huge collection of data from over nine million solar projects. They also asked a thousand homeowners about their experiences and thoughts, giving us fresh insights into how everyday people are moving towards using solar energy at home.

The Wave of Home Electrification

The idea of a home running on clean energy is gaining traction. People are not just installing solar panels; they're also adopting technologies like heat pumps and electric vehicles (EVs) at an increasing rate. The numbers are pretty telling: 17% of homeowners have solar panels, but even more (22%) have invested in heat pumps, and 15% have EVs. It seems many are starting their eco-friendly journey with tools that offer immediate benefits, suggesting solar panels may be seen as part of a larger home electrification picture.

Battery storage, a critical component of energy independence, is now part of 10% of these homes. Homeowners are liking the idea of being less dependent on the grid and more in control of their own power, especially with energy rules and rates always changing.

Source: Aurora Solar
Source: Aurora Solar

Solar: A Shiny Piece of the Home Energy Puzzle

When solar panels become part of an entire home electrification plan, they appear to shine even brighter. About 37% of homeowners surveyed agree, seeing more value in solar when it's integrated with a complete home energy makeover. This reveals a niche for solar professionals who can provide all-in-one solutions, evidenced by the 38% of homeowners seeking out experts who can handle everything energy-related in their homes.

Yet, the cost of fully transitioning to an electrified home can feel like a hurdle too high for many. Upfront expenses, such as outfitting a home with the right technologies, can be daunting, leaving 37% of homeowners wary of taking the first step.

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Hesitations and Concerns

The survey pointed out three big reasons people hesitate to get solar: high interest rates, reduced efficiency during winter months, and maintenance requirements. Even though more than half of the homeowners said solar is a smart move, a substantial 75% cited system and installation costs as a major concern. High-interest rates specifically deterred 54% of those interested in solar.

Leasing programs have emerged as the cheapest solar alternative for homeowners seeking to skip the upfront PV panel installation cost. 15% of respondents are currently utilizing such programs, and this number is expected to rise in the face of high-interest rates. It's something the solar industry is paying attention to because it could help more people make the switch.

When the Bills Get Real

There's a bit of a mismatch between what homeowners are worrying about and what's actually happening with their bills. Last year, 62% were anxious about rising costs, but now only 58% feel that way, even though energy prices are rising more quickly than most other expenses. The reason for this could be that there were fewer major power outages or cyber-attacks making the headlines in 2023, making the issue seem less urgent.

But the truth is, electricity costs have gone up—a lot. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), prices jumped by 5.3% in just one year, and they're 30% higher than they were ten years ago. This gap means solar experts have a chance to step up and show people how solar could save them money over the long haul.

Trusting the Solar Pros

Finding a good solar company you can trust is harder than it should be, and it's something that's got a lot of homeowners on edge. 44% of them are struggling to find someone they feel good about, and that's double the worry from last year. It's a big red flag for the solar industry, which needs to work on winning people's trust with honest talk and quality service.

A Generational Divide

When it comes to the cost of PV panels, age seems to play a significant role in people's perspectives. Younger homeowners (under 30 years old) are less likely to view cost as a concern when compared to their older counterparts, with a 17% disparity between the two age brackets.

The Misinformation Challenge

Knowledge—or the lack thereof—stands as a towering barrier to solar adoption. Only about 16% are familiar with the concept of net energy metering, suggesting a significant information void for those yet to install solar panels. As policies evolve, solar professionals must step in and fill in the blanks, teaching homeowners the ins and outs of saving with solar.

Furthermore, about 30% of homeowners hesitate to go solar simply because they're not sure if their homes get enough sunlight—a misconception easily debunked with modern tools like LIDAR-based shade analysis. Solar providers can use this technology to help people understand their home's solar potential.

And when it comes to the Inflation Reduction Act, which could be a big win for potential solar panel buyers, half of the homeowners out there are in the dark. Only a fraction of those surveyed are motivated by the tax incentives offered, indicating a gap between policy enactment and public awareness that needs bridging.

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Watch this video to find out if solar panels will be worth it in 2024

Concluding Thoughts: Lighting the Path to Solar Adoption

The report from Aurora Solar lays bare the opportunities and challenges facing the solar industry. Right now, there's a chance to really spread the use of solar energy in homes everywhere. But to do that, we need more than just good prices and payment plans. The solar industry has to share knowledge in a way that's easy to understand and help homeowners see the real benefits—not just the savings, but also the top-notch service and the dependable, clean energy they'll get.

The journey to a greener home is not only about the most efficient solar panels—it's about the complete package, including complementary technologies and the expertise that can bring a homeowner's vision to life. The solar industry's role is to be a trusty guide for homeowners, helping them switch on to a sunnier, solar-driven life.


Key takeaways

  1. Rising Interest: Roughly 17% of homeowners have embraced solar panels as part of a broader trend towards home electrification, alongside heat pumps and electric vehicles (EVs), indicating a growing eco-consciousness.
  2. Financial Barriers: Despite recognizing solar benefits, 75% cite high installation costs as a major deterrent. Concerns about high-interest rates, winter efficiency, and maintenance further dampen enthusiasm for solar adoption.
  3. Leasing Options: To mitigate upfront expenses, 15% are turning to solar leasing programs, given persistently high-interest rates. Leasing provides a more accessible avenue for homeowners to access solar benefits.
  4. Misinformation Challenges: Only 16% are familiar with concepts like net energy metering, highlighting a pervasive knowledge gap. Addressing concerns about sunlight availability and raising awareness about policy incentives are essential for fostering solar adoption.
  5. Generational Shift: Younger homeowners exhibit lower levels of cost concern, signaling a generational shift towards embracing solar energy.
  6. Trust Issues: Building trust with solar providers remains a hurdle, with 44% struggling to find reliable companies. Transparency and quality service are crucial for instilling consumer confidence.
  7. Educational Imperatives: Bridging the knowledge gap is vital for accelerating solar adoption. Solar professionals must play a pivotal role in disseminating information about solar potential, policy incentives, and technological advancements to empower homeowners in making informed decisions.

Conclusion:The analysis sheds light on the complex landscape of homeowner attitudes towards solar energy. While interest in solar adoption is on the rise, addressing cost concerns and dispelling misinformation are paramount. Through transparency, accessible financing options, and comprehensive education, the solar industry can navigate challenges and pave the way for widespread adoption, driving the transition towards a sustainable energy future

Apr 3, 2024
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