Survey Says: Home Solar In High Demand

News flash! When homeowners are outright offered a choice, the majority choose clean energy for homes. Film at 11.

It may sound obvious, but it’s nevertheless the result of a national survey co-produced by sunshine disruptor SolarCity and research firm Clean Edge. They commissioned national polling firm Zogby to quiz 1,418 randomly selected homeowners, who were quite clear about wanting more clean energy alternatives and products — especially solar panels for their homes.

“Homeowners overwhelmingly stated that they want choice when it comes to their electricity supply,” Clean Edge co-founder Ron Pernick told me. “Most importantly, they want the ability to install their own solar systems, energy storage and other distributed sources without being blocked by their utilities.”

The report — “U.S. Homeowners on Clean Energy: A National Survey” — is available for download at SolarCity and Clean Edge, but its key findings won’t be a surprise to adopters and investors paying any attention to solar’s bonanza performance in the last few years. Their poll found that 69 percent of homeowners want more energy and electricity supply choices, a “significant majority” (88 percent) support renewable energy and 62 percent want panels on their houses, post-haste.

Meanwhile, 73 percent of homeowners would be happy with clean energy options supplied by someone else besides their utilities, while three out of four poll respondents were against utilities forcing restrictions on “on-site energy systems.” However, less than half of respondents knew that solar installation costs have cratered in the last few years, even as others cited zero upfront costs as the reason why they went solar in the first place.

“Self-described conservatives were the most likely to want to defend free-market principles,” Pernick explained. “These groups said resoundingly that homeowners should have the option to install their own or third-party systems.”

But the shining realization is dawning that the numbers, once crunched, make the case for solar and other renewables, not dirty fuel business as usual. According to the report, around 70 percent of all homeowners say they consider “sustainability” when it comes to dropping cold hard cash on “big-ticket items,” which inevitably motivates their interest and investment in solar panels, electric vehicles, green buildings and more. In the last 10 years, the report explained, the explosive growth of “clean-energy products and services” puts them in the league of tomorrow technology like “smartphones and the Internet” rather than the usually toxic energy and transportation suspects.

In other words, when homeowners actually know the data behind their green (and not-so-green) choices and habits, they inevitably evolve. So let’s give them the data.

“Both the survey, and our compound annual growth rate analysis, point to the mainstreaming of clean energy,” Pernick told SolarEnergy. “These are sectors that are growing in the double-digits.”

This article appeared at Solar Energy