Half of homeowners see solar as a good investment, but 75% said cost is a problem

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Aurora Solar, a residential solar dales and design platform, released a report based on a database of more than nine million projects over the past two years, plus a survey of about 1,000 homeowners and 500 solar professionals.

The report found a strong interest in solar adoption but identified several barriers getting in the way of solar shoppers making a buying decision. Aurora found that 51% of surveyed homeowners believe solar is a “good investment.” But 75% of homeowners who do not have solar, but are interested, said overall system and installation costs are a problem.

Another issue for the industry is customer trust. In 2023, 22% of homeowners said they could not find a trustworthy solar company. This number doubled to 44% in the 2024 survey.

Aurora Solar said this emphasizes the need for solar installer sales teams take the time to educate their customers and help them understand the benefits unique to their home.

Key features of residential solar were largely not understood by survey respondents, emphasizing this need for installers work with their customers to build knowledge. Only 16% of customers were familiar with net energy metering (NEM), the process by which the utility credits a customer on their bill for sending excess electricity to the grid.

And despite three quarters of solar installers saying they are seeing increased interest in pairing energy storage with residential solar projects, only 10% of homeowners attached batteries with their residential solar array.

Homeowners also expressed interest in a more holistic approach to home energy management. Aurora said 38% of respondents said they view home solar as more valuable when paired with whole home electrification like heat pumps and electric appliances.

Homeowners also expressed concern that their utility bills will continue to rise, with 58% saying this was an issue for them. The average retail price of electricity rose 5.3% in 2023, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), outpacing the rate of inflation. Rates have risen about 30% since 2013, said EIA.

Despite residential solar having a rough 2023 and early 2024, two-thirds of surveyed professionals said their company increased in size this year.

Some conditions improved for residential installers this year. About 28% of respondents indicated “supply chain issues” were a challenge in meeting demand, and in the 2024 survey that figure dropped to 9%.

Supply chain issues moved out of the most common cited challenge by solar installers, and this was replaced by a difficulty to close sales. Installers said 38% of homeowners were reluctant to commit to quotes, up from 22% the previous year.

The top three reasons homeowners backed out of committing to a solar project were overall project costs (40% of respondents), poor return on investment (12%), or concerts over moving or selling property.

Aurora Solar said this highlights the opportunity for better customer education on available tax credits, financing options, and supplemental technologies for residential solar.

“It’s up to professionals to make sure homeowners are aware of all the incentives, all the financing options available, and all the potential paths to real ROI,” said the report.

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