There is no one single reason why consumers make the decision to have solar installed on their roofs. It’s a combination of reasons, and that combination can vary on the individual. But in 2009 we definitely saw the beginning of a shift in the mindset of many consumers. The top drivers are, not necessarily in this order:
- Environment. Going solar gives me the power to do something about global warming.
- Money. I will eventually save money on my electricity (perhaps right away, based on the state and financing options).
- Energy independence. We as a country are too reliant on foreign fuel. Solar on my roof is my own personal power plant.
- Statement. Solar on my roof makes a bold statement that I’m doing something to help the environment, and that you – my neighbors – can follow my lead.
- Cool factor. Ironically, this massive ball of ultra-hot burning gas called the sun is the coolest power source on earth. It makes me feel like a cooler person just because I have it.
- Hate. My utility has been making me angry for years. Having solar says to them, “eat my sun.”
- Status. My environmental credentials enhance my standing in the community.
- Passion. I believe passionately that my country should never again fight a war for oil. Power from the sun is my way of saying, “enough.”
- Hedge. Having a solar installation helps me lock in a rate for my power, so I won’t suffer as much from rising electricity rates over the years (see “hate” above)
Not long ago, before the days of generous federal and state subsidies, the environment was the dominant single driver for going solar. The very early adopters for solar tended to be green in two ways: they had money to throw around, and they wanted to stop global warming. That equation has changed. As we approach the end of 2009, it appears that two factors in combination are the main drivers:
Money and Environment. I can save money and help the environment at the same time. So, why wouldn’t I? Many or all of the other factors play a role in the decision, but these appear to be the top two. Incorporating money saving and environmental preservation together is critical to the success of any solar marketing campaign in 2010.