Increased public awareness of residential solar systems' financial and environmental benefits boosted consumer demand higher than ever in 2021. As homeowners scramble to install rooftop PV modules, this growth is impacting the demographics and buying trends of solar adopters, shifting median income averages, age groups, and neighborhood hot spots.
Residential installers can leverage these shifting trends to update marketing and sales strategies to gain new opportunities for growing their businesses.
Income and Demographics
The latest edition of the annual Residential Solar-Adopter Income and Demographic Trends from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory reviewed 2.3 million residential solar adopters across the country, accounting for 82% of US rooftop PV systems. The report also covers 86% of the system installed in 2020 and provides a wealth of income and demographic data for residential installers crafting targeted customer personas.
The U.S. residential solar sector continues to mature and enter into new states, resulting in lower PV prices, proliferating financing options, and increased programs for low-and-moderate income (LMI) households.
These factors, among others, have driven down the median income of solar adopters between 2010 and 2020, from $138k to $115k. Although this number remains high relative to the national average, the study’s authors note that California accounts for nearly half of all solar adopters and is a high-income state, skewing the data slightly.
Despite the average higher median income, a significant share of adopters could be considered LMI, with 41% of all 2020 adopters earning less than 120% of their area’s median income. Additionally, most states display solar-adopter incomes declining over time, with a drop of around 1-2% per year during the same period.
The report gets into a deeper dive over these metrics and many more. It provides significant insight for residential solar installers interested in understanding these shifting market trends.
Bringing Baby Boomers On Board
A recent survey conducted by Mosaic, a solar financing company, found that 64% of baby boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — were hesitant to install rooftop PV panels. Still, roughly one-third were receptive to the idea. This age group accounts for about 21% of the population but approximately 78% of U.S homeowners and the lowest percentage of solar panel owners.
The price tag topped boomers’ list of reasons that made them hesitant to adopt rooftop solar panels. Additionally, this age cohort said they didn’t know where to begin the process, and about 20% of respondents claimed they didn’t think the time and effort was worth it.
Mosaic offered three routes to help overcome these obstacles to baby boomer solar adoption.
In-Person Conversions - Hosting informative and educational in-person events at community centers, libraries, and local events help installers dispel myths and show the benefits of going solar.
Simplify the Process - Offering easy sign-ups, or working with local co-ops who handle the entire process makes solar more obtainable and enticing for this cohort.
Highlight Fixed Expenses - Individuals in this age group are either retired or preparing for it, so highlighting solar's fixed-expense option can be a strong selling point. Mosaic’s survey found that more than 75% of respondents said this was important to them.
This age demographic presents a promising opportunity for residential solar installers looking for new avenues of growth.
Deliver More Value For Homeowners
One trend that’s not likely to go away soon, if ever, is that homeowners want affordable, reliable, high-powered panels that give them the best value.
The residential modules from Trina Solar deliver this value for homeowners. Installers can provide the panels their customers want with optimized energy gains and the 25-year product and performance TrinaProtect warranty program.
Want to know about Trina Solar’s residential PV modules? Click here to learn more.
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