77% are Male

EnergySage, the online comparison-shopping marketplace for rooftop solar and its financing, published last month its Solar Marketplace Intel Report for 2016. It offers some interesting stats and insights.

Rooftop solar companies quoted, in the second half of 2016, an average gross cost per watt of around three dollars in relatively low labor cost states like Arizona, Florida, Ohio and Virginia. The average gross cost per watt was much greater in high labor cost states like Massachusetts and New York, around three dollars and sixty cents.

The average payback period for homeowners was significantly shorter in states with relatively high electric rates and bills for heavy kilowatt-hour consuming homes. Massachusetts’ average was about four and a half years, in the second half of 2016, California’s was about six and a half years, and Arizona’s was about seven and a half years. Illinois’ and New York’s were about eight years.

These were the states with the shortest payback periods. Still, how many people want to invest big bucks for a payback that long?

In states with relatively low electric rates and bills for heavy kilowatt-hour consuming homes, the average payback period was even longer. Texas’ average was over eleven years, Ohio’s over ten years, and Florida’s and Virginia’s were about ten years. Wow, ten years!

It’s clear that the rooftop solar companies are increasingly focusing on large homeowners. They’re quoting systems that average twelve kilowatts in Florida, and about ten and a half kilowatts in Arizona and Maryland. That’s a whole lot of panels, for a real large roof. For example, a twelve-kilowatt system composed of three hundred watt panels would need forty panels!

EnergySage found one of its most interesting results was the gender of the rooftop solar consumer. Men were seventy-seven percent of them. Women were twenty-three percent. Why do you think that is?

The magazine for commentary, opinion and debate on utility regulation and policy since 1928, Public Utilities Fortnightly. “In PUF, Impact the Debate.”

Steve Mitnick, Editor-in-Chief, Public Utilities Fortnightly
E-mail me: mitnick@fortnightly.com