Home solar panel installations are on the rise—and recent legislation may propel the movement even more.
- Residential solar power has been increasing in popularity in recent years, though it still only represents a small portion of overall electricity generation in the U.S.
- Though impeded by supply chain issues, residential installations increased 34% in 2021, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports.
- Residential solar has continued to grow in 2022.
- Legislation signed by President Joe Biden earlier this year included solar tax credits and government investments into renewable energy, spurring interest in residential solar.
Why it’s news
With higher energy prices and increased interest in renewable energy, more Americans are interested in solar.
In January, 39% of Americans told the Pew Research Center that they had seriously considered installing solar panels to their homes, though only 8% of homeowners currently had solar panels. The survey was conducted before President Biden signed the law introducing tax credits on solar panels.
Though 8% is still a minority of homeowners with solar, that is an increase from the last several years.
Homeowners in western states are more likely to have solar panels. California has the greatest number of residential solar power followed by Arizona and Texas, according to the EIA.
California’s interest in solar may be related to the struggling power grid.
The biggest motivator for installing residential solar panels was the cost saving benefits of solar. Almost 92% of survey respondents told Pew that savings was the motivation for their installation. The next most common motivator, at 81% was environmental considerations.
Backing up a bit
Earlier this year, California suffered from massive heat waves that led to concerns about energy shortages. The state suffered a similar fate in 202 along with rolling blackouts.
Californians were asked to conserve energy and use their air conditioning as little as possible in the midst of triple digit heat lasting several days.
Since the Golden State relies heavily on renewable energy sources, some saw the state’s predicament as a test for renewable energy.
Solar energy is one of the predominant energy sources in the state, which poses a problem after sunset. Droughts have cut the amount of hydroelectric energy California once produced. Now the state imports electricity from surrounding states when needed.
Excess energy from solar power can be stored in batteries, but even this power source started to run low for Californians.