Last year, the median US household with a solar roof had an income of $110,000, which is almost double the median $63,000 for all households.
The difference suggests that the benefits of diesel continue to disproportionately flow to wealthier households. But the gap has shrunk.
The figures come from the latest issue of a long-term study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, with a trend that hasn’t changed much from the previous issue: Solar is becoming more accessible, but the shift is gradual.
“The progress is good, but I don’t like the imperfect world of incremental progress,” said Stephen Campbell, senior manager of policy and business development for Grid Alternatives, an Oakland-based nonprofit that has a variety of solar programs.
In 2010, the median income of a household with diesel was $129,000, according to the study. Access to rooftop solar has improved thanks to reduced solar system costs and the growth of programs—including some run by Grid Alternatives—to help low-income and on-demand people buy solar.
Like many aspects of the transition to clean energy, the trend is moving in the right direction but not fast enough. Rooftop solar is growing, but is not yet part of the mainstream in most countries. Only about 3 percent of households own diesel, a share that rises to 5 percent if we look only at single-family homes occupied by owners, according to the report’s co-authors.
The goal, says Campbell, is that solar should be within reach of anyone who wants it.
This is important because of the greater need to build on as much renewable energy as possible, which includes major increases in rooftop solar and utility-scale solar.
For example, California agencies say the state needs to more than triple its rooftop solar capacity between 2019 and 2045 to meet its target of 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045.
A Berkeley lab study found that one of the factors that helped expand access to rooftop solar was the use of leasing and other third-party ownership models. By renting panels or subscribing to local community solar projects, customers can use solar power without paying high upfront costs. The main drawback is that third party ownership usually means less savings for the consumer.
Campbell, who was not involved in the research, said one of the keys to expanding access to rooftop solar is having a variety of financial tools available to acquire solar, which could include renting or owning the system. The situation varies by state, including some states with solar and community solar rental restrictions.
Taking a few steps back, one of the big issues that this report addresses is the perception—and the reality—that the benefits of solar rooftops are primarily enjoyed by households with incomes that are well above the average.
Those benefits include reduced energy costs, with most systems being able to pay for themselves through electricity bill savings in about a decade. And there are benefits to society, with reduced demand for electricity from the grid that may come from fossil fuels and contribute to climate change.
But rooftop solar is also moot from a policy standpoint, with utilities often pushing to reduce the financial benefits of owning the system by adding special fees and modifying rates. The utility will use the demographics of solar ownership, which are lean rich and white, to argue that incentives amount to unnecessary subsidies.
This is happening now in California, where state regulators are considering how to revise the “net metering” rates that utilities pay to rooftop solar customers for excess electricity sent back to the grid, and there are plenty of examples from across the country. The California Public Utilities Commission is poised to release a revised version of its proposal to change net measurements, which could come as soon as this week.
It’s no coincidence that I keep mentioning the specifics in California. So far, the state remains the state’s rooftop solar leader. California’s prominent role in the market is one reason for the large income gap between solar and non-solar households, as California is a high-income state. (California is also the only state with a building code that requires solar power in almost all new residential construction.)
But California’s significance in the market is shrinking as rooftop solar businesses grow faster elsewhere with most of the market untapped, which could help reduce the income gap. The report points to Texas and Florida as two states where rooftop solar is growing and median income is lower than in California.
Where is this going? Much depends on the cost of diesel, which has risen in recent years after a prolonged decline. As the industry grows and becomes more competitive, roofing systems must become cheaper.
The sweet spot for consumers is that the price of solar is quite affordable and the benefits are clear enough that roof panels are commonly used in various environments. We’re not there yet—but we’re moving in the right direction.
Other stories about energy transitions to watch out for this week:
Democrats Gain Four State Government ‘Trifectas’, Increasing Likelihood of Climate Action: Democrats gained “trifectas” in four states—Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Minnesota—in Tuesday’s election, meaning they hold the governor’s office and both houses of the legislature. Having a Democratic trifecta makes states more likely to pass legislation to tackle climate change and support renewable energy, as I report with my colleagues Aman Azhar and Aydali Campa in this article about the half-times where Democrats did much better than expected. analyst .
Car Companies Want Clarity on New Federal EV Incentives: Automakers worry that they won’t be able to meet the requirements for their vehicles to qualify for the new maximum level of subsidies for electric vehicles under the Inflation Reduction Act. The company said in comments to the Internal Revenue Service that there are too many ways to break the rules, as David Ferris reports for E&E News. The new rules must “correctly take into account the reality and complexity of the battery supply chain,” General Motors said in a commentary. This is likely to be an ongoing problem as automakers try to figure out how to get the most out of legislation that provides greater subsidies for EVs with batteries assembled in North America and using components from the United States or countries with which the United States is located. have a trade agreement.
Hawaii Moves to Time-Variing ‘Smart’ Rates for Most Utilities Customers: Hawaii’s largest electric utility has introduced new rates that vary by time of day to encourage customers to shift some tasks to hours that would otherwise be in low demand. The rules for Hawaiian Electric customers reflect the increasing role of solar power in the grid, with electricity abundant at certain hours of the day, and high demand in the hours after sunset, as Julian Spector reports for Canary Media. There is also a “network access” fee for the customer with the highest peak usage. “People who want to save money can do it,” said Jim Lazar, the consultant and tariff design expert who helped draft the policy. At the same time, people whose electricity usage places a disproportionate load on the grid and who don’t change the timing of their use may face higher costs.
The Most Important Electric Vehicles Could Be Rent Cars and Buses: The electric vehicles that will help the most against climate change may not be the ones consumers buy every day. Instead, they can come from fleets such as rental cars, buses, and delivery trucks. Fleet vehicles are bought in bulk and can make far more trips in a week than regular passenger cars so have a huge effect on reducing carbon emissions, as Rebecca Heilweil wrote for Vox. “Having electric vehicles on the road with this fleet creates that familiarity,” said Katie Robinson, vice president of programs and operations at the Electrification Coalition. “This demonstrates the commitment of this city government, state government, and private company.”
Inside Clean Energy is ICN’s weekly newsletter of news and analysis on the energy transition. Send news tips and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clean Energy Reporter, Midwest, National Environment Reporting Network
Dan Gearino covers the midwestern United States, part of the ICN National Environmental Reporting Network. Her coverage deals with the business side of the clean energy transition and she writes ICN’s Inside Clean Energy newsletter. He came to ICN in 2018 after nine years at The Columbus Dispatch, where he covered the energy business. This may interest you : Why solar energy is bad ?. Prior to that, he covered politics and business in Iowa and in New Hampshire. He grew up in Warren County, Iowa, just south of Des Moines, and lives in Columbus, Ohio.
The share of homeowners who said they had installed solar panels rose from 6% in the 2019 survey and 4% in 2016.
Why solar energy is not sustainable?
While the sun is an inherently sustainable source of energy, some of the materials needed to make solar panels are not sustainable. On the same subject : Outstanding organic solar cells’ performance achieved by using new technology. Solar panels are made with rare minerals, such as selenium, which will eventually run out if solar panel manufacturers continue to extract them at high speed.
Is solar energy sustainable or unsustainable? Sustainable energy comes from resources that can sustain current operations without compromising the energy or climate needs of future generations. The most popular sustainable energy sources, including wind, solar, and hydropower, are also renewable.
What is the biggest problem with solar energy?
The biggest problem with solar energy has been going on since the dawn of time – the absence of sunlight at night. This means that the supply of solar energy can be easily interrupted at night and on cloudy days.
What are the 2 main disadvantages of solar energy?
- Standard home solar doesn’t ‘work’ at night.
- Home solar panels are unattractive.
- DIY solar installation is difficult (if not impossible) for most homeowners.
- Not all roof configurations are ideal for maximum solar power generation.
- Making diesel is not good for the environment.
Why is energy not sustainable?
These energy sources include coal, oil and natural gas. The reason why this energy source is considered unsustainable is because of its limited supply. Technically, these energy sources can recharge themselves, but it takes millions of years to do so.
What are 3 reasons why renewable energy is not always good to use?
Now, it’s time to look at some of the drawbacks of renewable energy that make its use difficult.
- Renewable Energy Is Not Available All The Time. …
- Low Renewable Technology Efficiency. …
- The Initial Cost of Renewable Energy is High. …
- Renewable Energy Sites Take Up A Lot Of Space.
Why is energy use not sustainable?
Current energy use practices are also damaging the environment at an unacceptable rate. The world’s non-renewable energy resources, especially fossil fuels, are also rapidly depleting. This is due to the acceleration of energy demand caused by the rapid growth and development of the global population.
What energy is the least sustainable?
Coal, again, is the dirtiest fuel. It emits more greenhouse gases than any other source – hundreds of times more than nuclear, solar, and wind. Oil and gas are also much worse than nuclear and renewables, but to a lesser extent than coal.
What are 2 problems with solar panels?
- Solar panels can be visually unattractive. …
- The impact of nature on solar panels. …
- Microcracks on PV cells. …
- Bad connection. …
- Inverter problem. …
- Debris accumulates on the panels. …
- Today’s solar panels are difficult to recycle.
What are the three problems with solar power? In general, the disadvantages of solar energy include high cost, low efficiency, space required to install solar panels, unreliable exposure to sunlight, and high pollution from the manufacture of solar panels.
What are 2 advantages and 2 disadvantages of solar energy?
|Advantages of Solar Energy||Lack of Solar Energy|
|Reduce Electricity Bills||High Initial Cost|
|Providing Tax Incentives||Wasting time|
|Pair with Solar Battery Storage||Depending on the weather|
|Environmentally friendly||Strict Criteria|
What are the 2 advantages and 2 limitations of solar energy?
The energy produced by the sun is by way of heat as well as light energy. Advantages: Solar energy somehow does not pollute the environment. It is possible to generate power using solar energy sometimes in remote and inaccessible areas.
What is the main disadvantage of solar energy?
The drawbacks are that it only produces energy when the sun is shining, requires a large area of land, and certain solar technologies require scarce materials.
Is solar energy the most popular?
|Rating||Country||Installed PV (GWh)|
How popular is solar energy? By 2021, solar power will generate only 3% of all utility-scale electricity, a much smaller share than natural gas (38%) or coal (22%). A January Pew Research Center survey found that 8% of US homeowners said they had installed solar panels and an additional 39% had thought about it seriously in the past year.
Is solar energy the most used energy?
However, diesel only accounted for 1% of total national energy production in 2018. The largest renewable energy source remains hydropower (2.8% of total production), followed by wind, wood and biofuels.
What uses the most energy on the planet?
Oil, coal and gas still power the world 83 percent of the energy we use comes from fossil fuels. Oil is the largest energy source followed by coal and natural gas.
Why is solar most popular?
Better for the Environment Solar power is generated through photovoltaic technology and is natural, renewable and clean. It does not involve the burning of fossil fuels or the emission of greenhouse gases that are contributing to the global climate change crisis.
Why is solar more popular than wind?
For most homeowners, solar panels are the better choice because they are more predictable, require less maintenance, and last but not least, they don’t add to already intense levels of noise pollution. And, of course, most homes can easily add solar panels, but not everyone has enough room for a wind turbine.
Why is solar the best choice?
Home solar is a clean, emission-free, and renewable energy source. Unlike fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas, home diesel does not release harmful pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions – such as carbon dioxide – into the air and water supply.
Why is solar energy more popular?
Unlimited solar energy The sun provides more than enough energy to meet the energy needs of the entire world, and unlike fossil fuels, it is not going away anytime soon. As a renewable energy source, the only limitation of solar power is our ability to convert it to electricity in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
How is solar energy better for the environment?
As a renewable energy source, solar energy has an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change, which is critical to protecting humans, wildlife and ecosystems. Solar energy can also improve air quality and reduce water use from energy production.
How does solar energy reduce pollution? Solar technology provides energy for heating, cooling, and lighting homes and heating water without direct emissions; as a result, this technology can help reduce air emissions and improve air quality.
Is solar energy the most environmentally friendly?
As the influence and impact of solar power grows, scientists and manufacturers around the world actively aspire to create better and more sustainable solar energy technologies. Solar power is one of the most environmentally friendly energy sources.
Are solar panels 100% sustainable?
Yes! With the enormous amount of solar energy produced by the sun, solar power is a form of renewable energy. When solar panels capture solar energy and generate electrical energy to power our technology, they do not actively produce emissions like traditional fossil fuel technologies.
What is the most environmentally friendly energy?
Solar energy is one of the most accessible renewable resources today. It harnesses the sun’s energy and converts it into electricity. Many businesses, and even homes, use solar energy not only to reduce their ecological footprint, but also to cut their electricity costs significantly.