67% Of Non-Solar Households Are Interested In Solar, So What’s Stopping Them?
Molly Grace6 minute read
UPDATED: November 08, 2022
- 27.2% of homeowners say they have or are in the process of getting solar panels or solar shingles.
- Of those who don’t have solar power in their homes, 66.5% are interested in getting it in the future.
- Home listings with solar spend 13.3% less time on the market and are 24.7% more likely to sell over ask.
- 90.7% of homeowners with or in the process of getting solar cited the desire to lower their electric bill as a reason why they decided to get solar.
As the world works to meet the challenges of climate change, homeowners are looking for alternative, clean energy sources. Rooftop solar has become increasingly popular in recent years, empowering homeowners to decrease their dependence on fossil fuel by harnessing the power of the sun to electrify their homes.
In addition to reducing the carbon footprint of a home, homeowners who install solar panels or solar shingles on their roofs can save money on their electric bill. In spite of the fact that the cost to install solar has decreased significantly in the last decade, a recent survey from Rocket Homes℠ of 2,000 homeowners found that the upfront costs of implementing a solar panel system is still a barrier for many.
Over A Quarter Of Homeowners Have Solar
No longer a fringe energy source, solar energy has become increasingly popular. As homeowners look to scale back their reliance on expensive, sometimes unreliable electric grids, they see solar as the solution to boosting their home’s value and minimizing their carbon footprints.
Of homeowners, 27.2% now say they have solar panels or solar shingles on their home or are in the process of getting them. The top states these homeowners come from are Texas, California, Florida and New York. Of the homeowners who don’t already have solar power in their homes, 66.5% say they would be interested in having panels installed in the future.
Residential solar power appears to be increasing in popularity and is seen more commonly on recently-purchased homes; only 9.7% of homeowners who purchased their homes prior to 2000 said they have solar power or are in the process of getting it, compared to 35.3% of homeowners who purchased between 2020 – 2022. As the push toward more sustainable sources of energy continues and solar power becomes more accessible, this trend will likely only get stronger.
Why Are Homeowners Interested In Solar?
Is homeowners’ interest in solar driven more by eco-friendliness or the desire to save money on electricity?
The environment and sustainability clearly played a part in most individuals’ decision to get solar – homeowners who currently have solar power installed in their homes are significantly more likely to own other eco-friendly items and over four times more likely to own an electric vehicle. However, a lower electric bill was the most popular reason, as 90.7% of homeowners chose it compared to 85.1% who said eco-friendliness was a factor. This was closely followed by the 84% who said, “it pays for itself” which indicates that they not only think it saves money on their electric bill, but that they believe they’ll get a clear return on their upfront costs.
Data does in fact support the idea that solar power and energy storage can be a good investment for homeowners. According to Rocket Homes data, home listings with solar power are 24.7% more likely to sell over asking price and spend 13.3% less time on the market. This suggests that solar power is a value-add feature for buyers, making homes with it easier to sell.
For 83.5% of homeowners, having reliable electricity contributed to their interest in solar, almost equal to the 84% who had financial motivations. Most of today’s U.S. electrical grid (wires, poles and transformers) that provides electricity to American households is at least 60 years old, but only had a 50-year life expectancy. Extreme weather, combined with an aging electrical grid, have caused increased power outages in almost every area of the country. Reliable electricity is a necessity that is not thought about until it is gone. Many Americans are seeing and feeling its absence far more often in recent years.
Why Are Non-Solar Homeowners Interested In Solar?
Among non-solar homeowners who would be interested in getting it in the future, the desire to get solar remained strong regardless of how much these homeowners are currently paying for electricity. This is true even among groups that currently pay very little – 53.2% of those paying $60 or less each month for electricity said they would consider getting solar panels. For those who pay more than $200 each month, that percentage goes up even more to 69.2% of non-solar homeowners.
Most Homeowners Believe That Solar Increases The Value Of A Home
Most homeowners believe solar boosts home values: 40.7% say that solar power adds to a home’s value somewhat, while 17% believe it adds to the value substantially.
This belief exists regardless of whether homeowners currently have solar. While homeowners with solar are naturally more inclined to believe that solar power increases a home’s value, a majority (54%) of homeowners without solar also said they believe it makes a home more valuable. Additionally, even 33.9% of non-solar homeowners who aren’t interested in getting it in the future said that they believe solar increases a home’s value.
Data does support the idea that solar power can be a good investment for homeowners. According to Rocket Homes data, home listings with solar power are 24.7% more likely to sell over asking price. They also spend 13.3% less time on the market. This suggests that solar power is a value-add feature for buyers, making homes with it easier to sell.
Homeowners Want Solar, But Balk At Upfront Costs
Solar power is very popular, but many would-be solar homeowners feel that the cost of installation is either outright unaffordable or not worth it in the long run. Of homeowners who don’t currently have solar power in their homes, 74.8% said that the upfront costs are keeping them from having it installed, while another 43.8% said the cost of solar outweighs the benefits for them. Of homeowners, 43.4% also said they aren’t getting solar because their roof would need to be replaced.
The cost to have solar panels installed can range from $17,000 – $33,000, according to HomeAdvisor. If a new roof is needed, that can add another $10,000. However, homeowners who need to replace their current roof may be able to find some cost savings. According to Energy.gov, research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory suggests that homeowners who have their roof replacement and solar installation completed at the same time can potentially save an average of $4,000.
Homeowners who can overcome the cost of entry to solar power could potentially cut their electricity bill nearly in half: the median monthly electric bill for homeowners without solar is $130, compared to the $70 per month that homeowners with solar pay. For those who plan to stay in their homes long term, this can add up to significant savings over the years. A median savings of $60 a month adds up to $21,600 over 30 years, which is around the typical lifespan of a solar panel system. Depending on how much a homeowner initially paid to install their system and how much sun their home gets, solar power can potentially end up paying for itself over the course of its lifetime.
When homeowners without solar were asked what would help make solar possible for them, they again cited the upfront costs, with 61.2% saying lower costs would make solar more attainable for them. These homeowners are also interested in financial assistance in the form of tax incentives and grants, with 51.7% and 41.8% respectively saying these things would enable them to consider getting solar.
Incentives do exist on the federal, state and local levels to help homeowners afford solar, from the federal investment tax credit to local grants or rebate programs. On top of these incentives, solar buy-back programs from local electric utility offers more ways to save by selling the energy a home generates to the utility. With many homeowners saying they require financial assistance, it suggests that either current offerings aren’t sufficient or that homeowners don’t know what’s available. Educating homeowners on solar assistance and potential financing options, which can offer a monthly cost as opposed to a large upfront cost, could help homeowners overcome the financial barrier.
To understand homeowners’ interest in and experience with residential solar power, Rocket Homes surveyed 2,096 homeowners aged 24 and up from across the U.S. The sample was controlled to be 50% female and 50% male. Participants who answered “Yes, I own a condo” or “No” to the question “Do you own a house?” were screened out. This survey was conducted in February 2022.
To get further insight into how solar panels or shingles impact the sales price and time on market of a house, we pulled Rocket Homes listing data from January 1 – December 31, 2021 that mentioned solar in the listing description. It was then compared to Rocket Homes listings that didn’t mention solar during the same time period.
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