The How and Why of Consumer Uptake of Residential Solar Systems

A new study examines the how and why of consumer uptake of residential solar photovoltaic or solar thermal (hot water) systems.
Aug 25, 2016 10:00 AM ET

Courtesy of our sister publication, Solar Gain, this article examines consumer attitudes towards residential solar systems.

In fact, in many areas across the country, renewable energy alternatives supported by state and federal subsidies are now cheaper than coal or gas. But this transformative milestone – grid parity – does not explain the ins and outs of consumer uptake, or why some homeowners explore the solar energy marketplace and then opt out, choosing instead measures like the added efficiency of new appliances to massage their “green” spot.

Why? As industry insiders James Tong (a VP at Clean Power Finance) and Benjamin Sigrin (NREL energy systems engineer) note, going solar – whether in photovoltaic (PV) electricity panels or thermal hot water panels – requires a sizeable investment in time, money, and patience. Subsidies are as varied as grains of beach sand, permitting requirements a complete boondoggle, and most city, county and state licensing inspectors are scarcely able to keep themselves up-to-date on the rules.

Better (most consumers decide) to put in that new, 95-percent efficient gas-fired furnace and save one’s energy and bank account for other things, like that bath remodeling project that’s been on hold for five years.

Read the complete article on this residential solar study here.