High electricity rates push US homeowners to consider solar

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From pv magazine USA

The cost of electricity is rising in states across the nation. That coupled with the increased frequency of long power outages is pushing more Americans to consider solar.

Homeowners are challenged to stretch their budgets now with inflation, supply chain challenges, and rising interest rates. Rocket Solar’s study asked homeowners which home essentials they are spending more on today than a year ago, 61% said electric power—second only to food (85%) and ahead of commuting (39%).

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in May of this year, the average U.S. household paid $o.1492 kWh for home electricity service, or an average increase of 5% over 2021. The increase was substantially higher in some parts of the country, such as New Hampshire, which saw rates shoot up about 50%.

While paying the electric bill is now a serious concern for many, having an unstable grid is another concern. The EIA reports that in 2020 the average U.S. electricity customer experienced just over 8 hours of power interruptions, the highest since it began keeping records in 2013. As of mid-July 2022, 44% of homeowners had already experienced at least one power outage this year, with an additional 4.9% saying they expect to have one but have not yet. Of those, 64.8% had at least two or more outages in 2021.

“Power outages impact my family greatly because we have a nine-month-old,” said one homeowner. “If the electricity goes out, I get very worried. We live where the heat index reaches 100 degrees and I can’t have my baby living in those conditions.”

Nearly three-quarters of the homeowners surveyed said they believe solar would decrease their electric bill, and nearly 30% said they would consider installing solar if their electric bills keep rising. It is becoming even more appealing to the study respondents as electric rates increase along with solar costs decreasing. An added incentive is the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act that increases the investment tax credit to 30% for the next ten years.

Aside from cost savings, just over 17% cited the environment as a reason to go solar. For about 10% of the respondents, another reason to go solar is the potential increase in their home’s value.

The survey was conducted in July, when the company surveyed 1,560 single-family homeowners. The sample was controlled and divided equally among a combined sample of Gen Z and millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers. To make sure the participants had a clear understanding of their electric bill, those who weren’t individually responsible for their electric bill or didn’t have a significant other responsible for their electric bill were excluded from the study.

Rocket Solar is part of the Rocket family, which includes Rocket Mortgage, Homes, Loans and Auto. Rocket Solar teamed up with Palmetto, which leverages proprietary platform technology and energy intelligence solutions to accelerate the sale and adoption of clean energy. Palmetto connects homeowners with local sales and installation specialists to advance the clean energy economy in communities across the United States.

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