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US Solar Growth Driven By Middle-Class Americans

One of the most common solar-related myths out there is that it’s mostly just  the rich who are going solar. We’ve seen indication in the past that this stereotype was not  true. However, a study just released by the Center for American Progress (CAP)  is certainly the most recent and most comprehensive study on the matter that  I’ve seen.

“The CAP report used residential solar installation data from the Arizona  Public Service (APS), California Solar Initiative (CSI) and New Jersey’s Clean  Energy Program (NJCEP) databases to examine solar adoption trends across income  levels in the three largest U.S. solar markets – Arizona, California and New  Jersey,” Mari Hernandez of CAP wrote on Think Progress this week.

The study, Solar Power to the People: The Rise of Rooftop Solar Among  the Middle Class, found that solar installations “are overwhelmingly  occurring in middle-class neighborhoods that have median incomes ranging from  $40,000 to $90,000.” Over 60% of installations were in such neighborhoods. That  is surprising even to me. That is very clearly  the middle class.

And the areas with the strongest growth were actually in lower ranges, the  “lower middle class” or even “working class” range. Mari Hernandez wrote: “The  areas that experienced the most growth from 2011 to 2012 had median incomes  ranging from $40,000 to $50,000 in both Arizona and California and $30,000 to  $40,000 in New Jersey.”

 Rooftop Solar Income
Image  Credit: Center for American Progress

So, the next time you see someone write (or hear them say) that it’s just the  rich who are going solar, send them here.

Also, if you had it in your head that solar was too expensive, that you’re in  the middle class — maybe even the working class — and can’t afford it, maybe  it’s time to wake up and see that the middle and working classes are driving  solar power growth today. Maybe it’s time to  contact us for a quote!

It makes sense, too. The working and middle classes are more sensitive to  electricity bill increase. We’re more affected by that day of the month when we  have to send a check to the electric company. Solar power is a light in the smog  that can pull us out of that codependency. Saving $600 or even thousands of dollars a year means more to us than it does to  the über rich. That’s why thousands upon thousands of middle-class and  working-class Americans are switching to solar power.