The cost of electricity is rising in states across the nation. That coupled with the increased frequency of long power outages is pushing more Americans to consider solar.
Homeowners are challenged to stretch their budgets now with inflation, supply chain challenges, and rising interest rates. Rocket Solar’s study asked homeowners which home essentials they are spending more on today than a year ago, 61% said electric power—second only to food (85%) and ahead of commuting (39%).
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in May of this year, the average U.S. household paid $o.1492 kWh for home electricity service, or an average increase of 5% over 2021. The increase was substantially higher in some parts of the country, such as New Hampshire, which saw rates shoot up about 50%.
While paying the electric bill is now a serious concern for many, having an unstable grid is another concern. The EIA reports that in 2020 the average U.S. electricity customer experienced just over 8 hours of power interruptions, the highest since it began keeping records in 2013. As of mid-July 2022, 44% of homeowners had already experienced at least one power outage this year, with an additional 4.9% saying they expect to have one but have not yet. Of those, 64.8% had at least two or more outages in 2021.
“Power outages impact my family greatly because we have a nine-month-old,” said one homeowner. “If the electricity goes out, I get very worried. We live where the heat index reaches 100 degrees and I can’t have my baby living in those conditions.”
Nearly three-quarters of the homeowners surveyed said they believe solar would decrease their electric bill, and nearly 30% said they would consider installing solar if their electric bills keep rising. It is becoming even more appealing to the study respondents as electric rates increase along with solar costs decreasing. An added incentive is the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act that increases the investment tax credit to 30% for the next ten years.
Aside from cost savings, just over 17% cited the environment as a reason to go solar. For about 10% of the respondents another reason to go solar is the potential increase in their home’s value.
The survey was conducted in July, when the company surveyed 1,560 single-family homeowners. The sample was controlled and divided equally among a combined sample of Gen Z and millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers. To make sure the participants had a clear understanding of their electric bill, those who weren’t individually responsible for their electric bill or didn’t have a significant other responsible for their electric bill were excluded from the study.
Rocket Solar is part of the Rocket family, which includes Rocket Mortgage, Homes, Loans and Auto. Rocket Solar teamed up with Palmetto, which leverages proprietary platform technology and energy intelligence solutions to accelerate the sale and adoption of clean energy. Palmetto connects homeowners with local sales and installation specialists to advance the clean energy economy in communities across the United States.
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In California, starting in 2004, utilities started using a tiered billing system charging more for the higher electricity users than for the low electricity users. The larger the home, the greater the chance that home would go into the higher tiers. Tier 1 being 12 cents and tier 5 being 48 cents per kilo watt hour gave great incentive for larger homes to go solar. I started going solar in 2007 when my 1200 kilo watt hours per month was costing $280.00 per month while my friends in Nevada were paying only $144.00 per month for the same amount of electricity. As the bills went up, I would add another 2000 watts of solar until today I have 16,000 watts of solar with 8,000 watts of “on- grid” and 8,000 watts “off-grid” because of utility limits to the size of a system attached to the grid and still get NEM value for solar power produced. NEM rules keep changing and fees for having and installing solar are being considered by utilities.
Community energy suppliers also change their rules from year to year. I was offered 10 cents per kilo watt hour for my grid tied system at true up for any extra electricity I produced and after I powered on, they rescinded that offer just one month into my service and dropped the compensation to just 3 cents.
The net cost of producing power with grid tied solar is about 10 cents per kilo watt hour so now I lose 7 cents for every kilo watt hour I do not use up and let role over at true-up. So now I just use up all my extra power on Air conditioning, extra landscape lights, water features electric pumps and heating, replacing the natural gas, I was buying from the utility, and using up the 3-cent electricity they would have paid me but saving $100.00 per month from not buying their natural Gas during the winter. Eventually, homes will no longer be offered Natural Gas options in California and all electric homes like mine will require at least 16,000 watts of solar energy which is over the 15,000-watt maximum allowed on NEM compensated systems.
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