Unbound Solar busts residential solar myths


In an attempt to identify and address the misconceptions and hesitations that homeowners have before installing a solar system, Unbound Solar conducted a survey of 1,000 people, some who have had solar installed and others who have researched having it installed, and posed several questions around their experience.

Participants were polled on the hesitations they had before going solar, how long before they expected to see a return on investment (ROI) for their system, how their geography plays into system performance, estimated cleaning and maintenance requirements and a host of other common questions and concerns.

The survey turned up some provocative responses regarding system cost, ROI and maintenance needs.

Of the 1,000 people surveyed, the vast majority cited system cost as a moderate, if not high concern of theirs, prior to installing a system. More than 86% of respondents listed cost as being a moderate or higher concern, with more than half listing it as a high or the highest concern. Part of this concern level can be attributed to misinformation regarding when a homeowner will see ROI on their investment in the system, however price was not the only issue that gave homeowners considering solar pause.

While not as overwhelming as the amount of respondents dissuaded by price, more than half of all respondents listed a lack of information on solar systems as a moderate to high concern. And while Unbound suggests that a lack of information should stop potential customers from reaching their solar goals, these results lead to the conclusion that the average consumer is unfamiliar enough with solar to hesitate from purchasing or forego solar altogether, realities that could severely hamper the growth of residential solar.

Return on investment

If the initial results of the survey were troubling, responses regarding how long survey participants thought it would take them to see ROI on their system could provide some balance. Over half of all respondents (51%) shared that they expected it would take between two and five years to see ROI on a system, with Unbound putting the average payoff time at between three and six years. Just 30% of respondents expected the ROI period to take more than five years, while nearly 20% expected it to take a year or less.

When the issue of ROI is applied to different geographic regions of the country, however, respondents begin to diverge. 45% of people surveyed shared that they thought solar panels do not work in some climates within the United States, while an additional 33% of respondents were unsure.

Maintenance and value

Another misconception that caused hesitation among respondents came with regards to the difficulty and frequency of necessary panel maintenance. 31% of respondents thought that solar panels had to be cleaned at least every month, with 18% believing that they had to be cleaned weekly. Couple this with the 65% of respondents who shared that they believed panel maintenance to be moderately to extremely difficult and you start to get a larger picture of the common misconceptions that can turn a high volume of potential customers away from solar.

Despite any potential reservations, most of the respondents did recognize the value that solar installations bring to a home. 51% of respondents agreed that it would be easier to sell a home that had solar panels installed on it, while 59% shared their belief that installing solar on a home would increase its overall value.

This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: editors@pv-magazine.com.