Picture the kind of people who buy solar arrays. Are they rich? Do they have a family? Maybe roommates instead? Do they have a great credit score? Are they Democrat or Republican? Do you think of them as just like you, or completely different? Whatever you’re imagining could be causing you to hesitate in moving forward with renewable energy plans. Yet you shouldn’t let it stop you from your energy lifestyle goals.
You don’t need to make a ridiculous amount of money to be able to start powering your house with solar energy. As solar power gets more affordable, many more people with lower incomes have become solar adopters. From 2010 to 2018, households with incomes that were less than $100k went from being 39% of the total solar adopters to 48%. Those with incomes of $200k or more dropped from 26% to 16%. Similarly, the amount of people with lower credit scores is increasing. Becoming a solar-powered household is much more easily attainable than it used to be.
Sure, lower-income households are likely to want to save money now rather than putting whatever extra they have into something like renewable energy. It’s understandable when it feels like you have very little spending money for the more exciting things in life. But consider: the long-term savings will add up to much more, especially on your electricity bills. A solar array also increases the value of your home if you decide to sell it. Plus, converting to a renewable energy source rather than using fossil fuel-based energy will contribute to the well-being of future generations. So residential solar systems are actually terrific, easy investments with guaranteed returns.
There should be more high-income people purchasing residential solar systems. While you might not be that worried about your current cost of utilities, why not improve on it? Being off the grid with solar energy allows you to be more independent. If a blackout happens, your day doesn’t have to come to a standstill. If you add a battery for more storage, you’ll have even better backup. The whole neighborhood will want to join you in adopting a solar energy lifestyle when they see how it’s going for you.
Race & Ethnicity
People don’t consider often enough the correlation between racial categories and solar adoption. Even when increases in income and homeownership are taken into account, there are still major differences. Majority white or mixed areas have a greater likelihood of adopting rooftop solar panels than majority Black, Hispanic, or Asian areas. You’re also more likely to find solar adopters living in neighborhoods with higher White and Asian populations, and lower Hispanic and Black populations.
There are a lot of factors that could be leading to this disparity. What’s most important to remember is that no matter your race or ethnicity, you deserve access to renewable energy. It’s also been found that once one or two people in an area become early adopters, it’s more probable that other residents in the area will join in. Be brave, take that first step, and lead your neighborhood into the future.
You might be surprised to learn that across party lines, everyone is adopting solar. While Democrats are turning to solar energy at higher rates than Republicans, the difference is just a small percentage. And within each affiliation, including those with no party affiliation, the difference between those who have and haven’t adopted rooftop solar is even more negligible. Basically, if you know someone’s political party, that won’t help you predict their chances of solar adoption. It’s great to know that someone’s political ideology won’t affect their thoughts on solar power. Whether they’re thinking of their own situation, their community, or the world, solar energy is the way to go.
Ultimately, these identifiers aren’t what matter. If you want to have a better impact on the environment and on your wallet, you can make it happen. The most important thing is: What do you want your energy lifestyle to look like?
If you know that solar is the way to go, there are a number of ways to accomplish it. You can find incentives at both the federal and state level. Your utility company might be offering bonuses for powering your home with solar. There are also organizations working to connect low-income communities and communities of color with solar services. Take charge of your energy lifestyle and create your own future right now. The time has never been more right.