Data reveals vast majority of Americans support renewables, 73 percent open to receiving clean energy from a provider other than their utility
San Mateo, Calif. – Mar. 10, 2014 – Clean Edge, Inc. and SolarCity (Nasdaq: SCTY) today announced the results of an inaugural national poll of U.S. homeowners regarding clean-energy products and services. The poll found that a majority of homeowners, 69 percent, want more choices when it comes to their energy and electricity supply. National polling firm Zogby Analytics was commissioned to conduct the poll. The new report, “U.S. Homeowners on Clean Energy: A National Survey,” is available for download at www.solarcity.com/insideenergy and www.cleanedge.com/reports.
The poll confirmed that a significant majority of Americans (88 percent of homeowners) support renewable energy. It was also among the first to ask homeowners directly if they would be interested in solar for their own homes—62 percent said yes. This is particularly notable, given that there are more than 75 million owner-occupied housing units in the U.S., and fewer than 500,000 photovoltaic installations.
The SolarCity-Clean Edge poll also reveals the persistence of a myth that clean-energy products are not affordable. Less than half of all homeowners nationally understand that solar power is more affordable today than it was three years ago, despite the reality that prices for solar panels have dropped by more than half over this time period, and solar electricity prices can beat utility rates in a growing number of locations.
While homeowners generally view their current electric utility favorably, 73 percent of homeowners also said they would welcome clean energy provided by an entity other than their utility. Some utilities have attempted to impose fees and taxes on solar customers as a way of suppressing rooftop solar deployment, but energy providers should take note. Three out of four poll respondents voiced opposition to these types of efforts, saying that utilities should not be allowed to enforce restrictions on on-site energy systems. Though the sentiment was shared across all demographics, it was strongest among Republicans, Conservatives and middle-aged or elderly homeowners.
“Other surveys have looked at general green-consumer activity, but ours is among the first to focus on U.S. homeowners – a group that makes the majority of clean-energy residential purchases,” says Clean Edge managing director Ron Pernick. “The shift to clean-energy solutions was deep and wide across all demographics. Indeed, consumers not only want choice, but also want to protect their right to install their own distributed energy and storage systems.”
Additional Key Report Findings:
Economics are driving adoption. Respondents cite zero up-front costs and ongoing cost savings as the top two reasons for considering solar for their homes.
Approximately 70 percent of all homeowners consider or investigate the sustainability of big-ticket items when making purchasing decisions, and more than half are more likely to take sustainability considerations into account today than they were three years ago.
The most popular planned clean-energy purchases in the next year are LED light bulbs (31 percent of homeowners), followed by smart thermostats, double- or triple-pane windows, hybrid cars, and Energy-Star rated hot water heaters.
Over the past decade, clean-energy products and services – including solar PV, utility-scale renewables, hybrid electric vehicles, and green buildings – have experienced double-digit compound annual growth rates more akin to smartphones and the Internet than that of the energy and transportation sectors.
More than 1,400 U.S. homeowners participated in the survey. Respondents were randomly selected to answer questions about renewables, energy efficiency, clean transportation, energy storage and related topics. All interviews were completed in January 2014. The margin of error for the survey is =/- 2.7 percentage points. SolarCity and Clean Edge plan to release the homeowner survey annually.
About Clean Edge
Clean Edge, Inc., founded in 2000, is the world’s first research and advisory firm devoted to the clean-tech sector. The firm delivers an unparalleled suite of clean-energy benchmarking services including stock indexes, utility and consumer surveys, and regional leadership tracking, providing companies, investors, NGOs, and governments with timely research, trending analysis, and actionable insights. Managing director Ron Pernick and senior editor Clint Wilder are coauthors of the widely acclaimed business books The Clean-Tech Revolution (HarperCollins, 2007) and Clean-Tech Nation (HarperCollins, 2012). To keep abreast of the latest clean-tech trends, or for more information on the company, visit www.cleanedge.com.
SolarCity® (NASDAQ: SCTY) provides clean energy. The company has disrupted the century-old energy industry by providing renewable electricity directly to homeowners, businesses and government organizations for less than they spend on utility bills. SolarCity gives customers control of their energy costs to protect them from rising rates. The company offers solar power, energy efficiency and electric vehicle services, and makes clean energy easy by taking care of everything from design and permitting to monitoring and maintenance. SolarCity currently serves 14 states and signs a new customer every five minutes. Visit the company online at