A combination of high-profile grid failures, power outages, and mounting electricity bills, are reportedly driving many homeowners in the United States to strongly consider and purchase solar and home storage options.
The findings, as unsurprising as they may have been, were highlighted in a recent survey conducted by California-based solar and storage company SunPower.
The 2021 SunPower Energy Sense Index, which surveyed 1,500 homeowners across the United States, found many homeowners currently live with constant concern of power outages.
Two out of every five respondents in the SunPower survey said that they worried about power outages on a monthly basis, while one in five worried every single week. More than half of homeowners that had experienced a power outage in the last year also noted that their level of trust in their electricity provider had wavered.
Power outages might seem just a nuisance for many, but Americans have suffered from massive state-wide power outages caused by wildfires in California, as well as the massive winter storm that sent Texas into a powerless deep-freeze. It’s little wonder, then, that concern amongst Americans that they will lose power is growing.
And it’s these high-profile power outages that are prompting many Americans to make a change, with one third of respondents to SunPower’s survey citing these outages as a key reason to start investigating solar and storage systems for their homes.
Of this group, 70% plan to include a battery for energy storage in their initial purchase so as to provide resilience during potential power outages – compared to a market demand of under 6% in 2020 according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
Giving further credence to the momentum towards solar and storage systems, those that experienced power outages over the past year in the US were nearly four times as likely to have purchased solar panels and storage.
And this shift is showing up in the data. According to SEIA and Wood Mackenzie, residential solar installations across the United States increased steadily over the last two years, rising by 11% in 2020 and reaching a record 3.1GW of capacity.
SunPower’s survey was weighted heavily towards millennials and those from Generation Z, but it should be of no surprise that baby boomers – with their more stable financial situation – represented the majority of those currently considering solar.
Importantly, however nearly three-quarters of those considering solar were found to earn less than $100,000 a year, compared to just 34% of those who already had solar on their homes.
Those who already owned or were considering solar were largely concentrated in the South and California – locations where solar development has skyrocketed thanks to government support and massive demand. But the survey forecast the Midwest to be the “next most promising area for solar adoption” with 24% of homeowners considering solar coming from that area.
The report also identified lowering electricity costs as the number one reason homeowners purchased solar – followed closely by resilience during power outages – but with 79% of those considering solar citing cost as the reason that would prevent them from doing so.
Conversely, however, SunPower’s survey also found that 60% of respondents overestimated the average cost of purchasing a solar system.