Research Shows Solar Customers are Mostly Middle Class

Installer’s survey in Mass. highlights the trend throughout the country

By Solar Industry Magazine

HHIsMost people going solar in Massachusetts have household incomes (HHIs) of less than $150,000, according to a survey conducted by New England Clean Energy .

Mark Durrenberger, president of New England Clean Energy, says nearly 250 customers responded to the Hudson, Mass.-based installer’s survey on HHIs. The results show that people purchasing solar electricity systems, without or without financing, cross all income brackets, but predominantly 67 percent earn less than $150,000 per household.

According to the survey, 35 percent have HHIs of less than $100,000 per year, 10 percent have HHI of less than $50,000 and 13 percent earn $200,000 or more.

“Anti-solar forces in Arizona and other states are claiming that solar policies – in particular net metering, which compensates solar owners for their production at retail – benefit the rich at the expense of the poor. This argument assumes only the rich can install solar,” Durrenberger says. “We knew anecdotally that plenty of middle-class families and retirees on fixed incomes were going solar. Now, we have data confirming that people of all income brackets are installing solar to save and make money.”

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Durrenberger say states with progressive solar policies, such as Massachusetts, enable virtually anyone with decent credit to go solar. Even those without the necessary credit rating – and those with bad roofs or who rent – can access solar through community solar gardens and virtual net metering.

Furthermore, he says, solar benefits utilities in ways just starting to be quantified.

New England Clean Energy’s anonymous, online survey of 460 customers was conducted between Oct. 23 and 29. Of those contacted, 244 completed the survey. For more information on the survey, click here.

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