Energy independence, environmental impact, climate change mitigation, contingency plans in case of a power outage – these are all good reasons to have solar power installed in one’s home or business. But for the majority of people plugging into solar energy, the best reason remains a financial one. Does nothing ever change?
The Solar Foundation (TSF) released a job censusreport last month (January 2014) full of data on the booming solar energy industry in the United States. Highlighting the solar industry’s 20% employment growth over 2012 and its projected 15.6% growth in the next year, the bulk of the information in TSF’s report focused, naturally, on the solar field’s employment opportunities. There’s no arguing with the industry’s economic value when solar is creating jobs ten times faster than the national average employment growth.
Adding to the data on the stimulation of employment and economy, TSF included some notable stats on consumer motivations for going solar. Nearly 75% of the demand for solar energy was fiscally motivated, with 51.4% of solar companies reporting their customers switched to solar to save money, and 22.9% reporting that they switched because solar energy costs are now more competitive with utility.
Speaking of utility, TSF’s report also revealed which stakeholders were thought to best understand the benefits of solar, and utilities came out on top. It’s no surprise that, as competitors, utility companies were reported to have the best understanding of solar’s advantages. This explains their aversion to net metering, which allows solar and other energy system owners to get credit for any excess energy they feed back into the electric grid. It appears that even those pushing back on solar do so for financial cause. Indeed, that would be the only understandable reason.
For those in the solar industry, the motivations for going solar that TSF uncovered are key market insights that could inform your angle when selling or promoting your product or business – although saving money would likely have already been at the top of your list of pitch points. For home or business owners considering going solar, installations have never been more affordable, and the benefits, financial and otherwise, are indisputable. Lastly, for anyone looking for employment or a career switch, solar certification training is more accessible than ever, and there is almost no industry in the country that compares with the workforce entry prospects that the solar industry presents.Make money in the solar workforce; Save money in your home or business – offering an array of opportunities to please the pocketbook, it seems there is no greener business than solar.
So, while 8.6% of customers have environmental benefit in mind when switching to solar, the vast majority are thinking of their bank accounts. Sure, the ecological returns are abundant and the security of never having a blackout is comforting, but you can’t rewire the financially motivated psyche dominant in a free trade economy. As far as persuasive arguments, the almighty dollar remains the most convincing.