Infographic: 9 Surprising Things About People Who Go SolarBy Matthew Wheeland - March 27, 2012
*Last Modified: June 18th, 2014
9 Surprising Things About People Who Go Solar
The people who buy solar panels are your typical tree-hugging, left-leaning, well-to-do ex-hippies, right? Wrong! polled nearly 200 solar homeowners to learn a little bit about what kind of person uses home solar. The answers may surprise you.
1. They Don’t Do It For the Environment
Yeah, saving the world is nice, but the majority of polled homeowners who went solar did it for the money. Without the economic benefit of going solar, nearly 3 or 4 homeowners say they wouldn’t have done it. As a real solar owner told us, “I am more conservative. I care more about jobs than the environment. Going solar was purely a financial decision. I showed a five-year payoff with the amount of electricity I use.”
2. They’re Not All That Liberal
Ultra conservatives and ultra liberals alike go solar, but the average solar homeowner is nearly the textbook definition of ‘middle of the road.’ On a scale of 1 to 7— with one being extremely liberal, and seven extremely conservative, most homeowners with solar power fall in the middle, with a score of 3.34.
3. They’re Not Rich
They’re actually penny pinchers. The average solar homeowner had a combined household income between $76,000 and $100,000 when they decided to go solar— well below the $150,000 level that most Americans consider “wealthy.” 70% of solar homeowners say they’re “savvy spenders” or “budget conscious.”
4. They’re Mostly Guys
Despite their heavy role in most major purchases and a track record of ingenuity when it comes to money-saving strategies for the household, women are strangely underrepresented when it comes to buying or leasing solar.
Among married couples of the opposite sex, 68% of the time the husband was the first person in the household interested in going solar. 77% of the time, the husband was also the person who did the most footwork to make solar happen.
Why is this so surprising? 77% of women take primary or equal responsibility for paying their electricity bills. 97% of women are conserving electricity in their home in a variety of ways, from turning down the thermostat to buying energy-efficient appliances. Women also support solar power— 90% of women think solar should play a very or somewhat important role in our country’s energy future.
A real solar homeowner told us, “My wife was really against it. Now she constantly tells friends, co-workers, and clients how much she is saving every month with our system.”
5. They’re Really Into Cars
Solar homeowners love their gadgets— especially their rides. One of the most surprising things about the responses is how many people mention their love of cars. With a home solar system, people are powering their electric cars for free or feeling better about offsetting their gas-guzzlers.
44% of solar homeowners say they’re “tech crazy” or “gadget crazy.” These are just a few of the things that solar homeowners told us:
- “I have a drag race car, a four-wheel drive, a V8 Jeep hot rod, and a speedboat- all petrochemical swillers.”
- “I’m a motorhead, very interested in cars and motorcycles, working on them, watching them race, understanding the technology. I got the solar in order to fuel my electric vehicles.”
- “Our solar panels ultimately charge our electric car, so it essentially costs zero dollars for us to drive.”
- “I can use it as carbon offset to driving my truck.”
- “I drag race and build race cars.”
- “Auto racing is in my blood, and I invest in oil and gas companies.”
6. They Like to Crank the A/C
Solar homeowners love to indulge. They crank the A/C in the summer guilt-free and without a worry about what they’ll pay at the end of the month. Here’s what real solar owners told us:
- “My husband likes his air conditioning in the summer, which gave us the extra incentive to purchase the solar panels.”
- “I no longer bug my wife about running A/C in the summer or leaving lights on…and I secretly appreciate turning A/C on in the summer more often too.”
- “The size of the solar was based on a year when summer was hot, running our old A/C. We spend less kWh in summer and the unused accumulated kWh are used in the winter to provide heat.”
- “Nice to keep the air conditioning running and not feel guilty.”
7. 18% Have Been in the Military
Nearly a third of solar homeowners consider themselves resourceful, ready-for-anything types— 29% say they’re self reliance fans or preparedness prone. That makes sense considering roughly one in five has served in a branch of the U.S. military.
8. They’re Somewhat Religious
Athiests and evangelicals both love solar, but the average solar homeowners is, once again, noticeably moderate in his or her beliefs. On the religious spectrum from “not at all” to “extremely” religious, most solar homeowners place themselves nearly in the middle of the road at “a little religious/spiritual.” On a scale of 1 to 5, with one being not at all religious or spiritual and 5 being extremely religious or spiritual, the average solar homeowner had a score of 2.37.
9. They’re Crushing Wall Street
In a time when many investors are struggling to find ways of earning even a 2 or 3 percent rate of return, a high ratio of people who bought solar say they’re using their solar system to get returns twice and even three times as high. Note, rates of return vary depending on current cost of electricity and other factors.
Before going solar, homeowners pay an average electricity bill of $177.60. After solar, that drops to just $55. That adds up to an annual savings of $1,471. Real solar homeowners told us:
- “I figure I’m earning about 8 percent on my investment. And it’s tax free! Where can you get that rate now?!”
- “Why wouldn’t I want to invest in something that returns at least 16% on my money, year in and year out?”
- “We figured the one sure thing in life was that the electricity rate would not go down over time. It was a good investment.”
- “My solar system will pay itself off in 5-6 years. Then the savings will help fund my children’s college education.”
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By Dave Llorens