Residential solar installations have risen dramatically over the past decade. Solar is now mainstream and is no longer seen as something esoteric or alternative: instead, it's seen as a viable option for most homeowners, regardless of income, roof orientation, and lot size.
Solar for All
What accounts for this rapid growth in the industry? The residential solar boom can be attributed to four key factors.
The desire of homeowners to use renewable electricity to reduce their carbon footprints. As the devastating effects of climate change and global warming make themselves known, it is clear that our future is tied to finding alternatives to fossil fuels. Going solar is a simple, effective way for homeowners to take action and demonstrate their green values to their communities.
Consumers see renewable energy as a way to gain some independence from the utility and own their power. There is something liberating about being less dependent on buying power from the utility, and it can be exciting to feel like you’re taking control of your own energy future. The savings solar can represent on monthly electricity bills is another huge bonus for most consumers--instead of paying the utility, they're putting money into a solar system that will pay off over time.
There has been a dramatic reduction in the cost of solar modules over the last few years, and they are only expected to get lower, steadily decreasing until they reach an anticipated $0.44/W in 2020. Lower prices for PV have, naturally, reduced the overall cost of a solar installation. Add in increasing options for leasing a system with little or no upfront payment, and the barrier to entry is very small. This means that more people than ever have access to solar.
Return on Investment
Increasingly, people are seeing that solar provides an excellent return on investment, and even customers who might not be interested in renewables for "traditional" reasons (such as environmental awareness) recognize the value offered by going solar. Once the upfront cost has been met, solar will pay off for years and years, providing long-term savings for the customer. Additionally, solar is becominga source of added value for homeowners looking to sell their houses, with solar installations increasing home prices by an average of about $15,000.
So what does this mean for the installer? There are more reasons than ever to go solar, and you have even more ways of approaching the sale to engage and satisfy every type of customer, whether they're an eco-activist, or a savvy saver.