Are solar panels worth it? – Early Adopter Perspectives!
The solar industry in the US continues to grow and with over 1 million households already gone solar. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, this growth is being caused by the decreasing cost of installing solar which has dropped by more than 70% over the last 10years, leading to deployment of thousands of systems nationwide.
However, one may want to know why households are considering going solar: are people going solar for economic reasons or to conserve the environment as many governments continue to develop environmental policies and laws to curb carbon emissions that are contributing to climate change?
To answer this question, it is important to note that the solar industry is yet to move from a “niche” to “mainstream” market and therefore there is a general lack of information about the solar PV technology. Also the technology is currently reliant on government support (in form of subsidies) in many countries and it may take time to compete with other technologies without subsidies.
Many people are still unfamiliar with the benefits of going solar. As such, promoters of the solar technology such as the government, non-governmental organizations, civil society could be promoting the technology largely because of its environmental benefits or for both economic and environmental reasons.
In addition, when we use the theory of diffusion of innovation which defines the stage of new technologies based on their rate of adoption or their categories of adopters, including innovators, early majority, late majority and laggards; solar PV is still in the innovation and early adopters stage. At this point there is need of dissemination of credible information about the solar technology and blogging like in this solar blog is one way of spreading the word about solar energy.
According, to the SunShot Initiative’s Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies (SEEDS) program, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the public is still unfamiliar with solar which calls for sharing of credible information by the stakeholders. These consumer studies help determine the main barriers to and drivers of solar adoption while gathering insights about the behavior of solar adopters and considerers of solar.
Within this study, factors affecting why solar customers are switching to solar and why others haven’t switched to solar are analyzed. The results of the study show that adopters are going solar because of mainly economic reasons, that is to save on their electricity bills for years to come. This confirms that going solar is largely an economic decision and not an environmental or political decision from a consumer’s perspective. However, promoters of solar seem to care for increased solar adoption for environmental reasons or for both perspectives.
Solar adopters are referred to as the innovators and early adopters and are generally trendsetters who are ready to take on risks and uncertainty presented by the new technology and this confirms the theory of diffusion of innovations. While solar considerers are more concerned with the practicality of the new technology and would adopt the technology when any risks and uncertainty are overcome.In this regard, the risks and uncertainty can be eliminated through the demonstration of the technology by the early solar adopters, especially when it comes to achieving savings and technical performance. According to early solar adopters interviewed in this study, it was noted that “most adopters (especially buyers) are happy so far and some in disbelief that the the solar technology worked out so well.”
Furthermore, this study determined that there are four adopter motives for considering solar as follows based on the level of importance (100% represent extremely important)
- Lowering your total electricity costs (78%)
- Protection from rising electricity prices in the future (62%)
- Being able to use renewable energy (50%)
- Reducing your environmental impact (43%)
Based on these results, we can say that most consumers considering the question: Are solar panels worth it? Are largely concerned about the economic value of solar rather than the environmental value which can also be quantified based on the amount of carbon reduced and the equivalent of the number of trees planted or the general improved air quality and so on.
For solar consumers looking for trusted sources of information where they can find a one-stop of information, including trusted solar installers; please visit some of the most well-known online solar marketplaces where at the click of your mouse you can generate solar reports that will show you:
- The amount of solar based on Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) that is hitting your roof.
- Solar financing options specifically available for you based on the finance information you input into their system.
- Savings in terms of how much you can save with solar considering your current energy bill
- How many solar panels you need and the cost of going solar
- How much carbon you can reduce (reducing your carbon footprint)
- A List of trusted solar installers in your local area.
- Customer service with solar experts to answer questions that you may have.
Get started today with EnergySage or Geostellar to sign up to use their LIDAR technology online solar tools and know your solar energy potential while obtaining at least three quotes from trusted solar installers in your area.