Despite the ups and downs of politics and the economy, solar power’s popularity has steadily increased in the United States. That trend is likely to continue, although the costs of installation continue to weigh on the minds of future buyers.
A survey by Forbes Magazine quantified the sentiments of American homeowners toward solar power. The results confirm that the industry is doing a good job of selling its product.
According to the poll conducted this year, 19% of Americans either already have solar panels installed on their rooftop or are in the process of installing them. Of the remaining 81%, nearly half (48%) said they have plans to install panels in the future.
Homeowners in the survey cited several reasons for wanting to install solar, including independence from the local utility and helping the environment. The number one reason was the expectation of cost savings on their monthly utility bills.
Survey respondents feel solar has other benefits, too. Nearly 80% believe that it will add value to their home and make it more attractive to buyers when the time comes to sell.
Since it first entered the mainstream market, rooftop solar has been handicapped by the high costs of installation. Many homeowners simply cannot afford it, and it can take years to recoup the costs through savings on monthly bills.
Forbes confirmed that despite the technology’s growing popularity, the industry still has not done enough to make up for this upfront hurdle. According to the survey, many homeowners are still on the fence about installing rooftop solar. They cite many reasons, including other priorities and maintenance, but none came close to the upfront costs of installation, which is the main cause of hesitation for 36% of the homeowners who participated.
Their hesitations are not unfounded. According to Forbes, the cost of rooftop solar panels plus installation can range from $16,000 to $35,000. These costs depend on the type and number of panels installed, the condition of the roof and the home’s geographical location.
Understandably, consumers are almost as unsure about the costs as they are hesitant to make the purchase because of it. When asked by Forbes how much they think a rooftop solar system would cost them, homeowners gave a variety of answers ranging from a low of $1,000 to more than $25,000. The largest number, 21%, thought that it would cost between $10,000 and $15,000, but an almost equal number, 19%, admitted that they really had no idea.