Is Solar Only For the Wealthy?

Posted by Samantha on December 14th, 2014

Despite its rise in popularity, solar is still commonly seen as a "rich man's" toy, a money-saving and environmentally friendly remodel that is not financially available to the folks that need it most. However, several studies have refuted this claim, and as recently as 2011, a PV Solar Report analysis concluded that residential rooftop solar installations are more a middle-income addition rather than being restricted solely to the wealthy. In fact, almost two thirds of California solar systems installed between 2009 and 2011 have been performed in zip codes with median annual household incomes of less than $85,000, and those zip codes themselves fall in traditionally "not very wealthy areas of the state".

This solar system bakes in the Ballard sun!

While it should be noted that the PV Solar Report numbers still show home solar strongly tilting toward upper-income households (and that many consider the middle income line to be lower than $85,000), a lot has changed since 2011, and an array of incentive programs, varying from state to state and utility to utility, are largely responsible for making solar more accessible to middle income earners. The price of solar has dropped 70% in the past 5 years alone, and seems to be trending to hit grid parity (that is, the product is priced to be able to survive without incentives) within the next 5 years. Between dropping prices and the increase in solar-specific loans with attractive rates, what was once thought of exclusively as an upper-income convenience is becoming, and staying, popular with the middle class.

SolTerra customers David and Lisa got their Christmas present early- a brand new solar system AND free tickets to the Seahawks vs 49ers game!

Here at SolTerra, we see people go solar for a variety of different reasons, some more financially based than others. While we would never inquire as to the income of our clients, determining your goal in going solar is a vital step in recommending the best system for each individual customer.Through our own client experiences, we have found that customers of all backgrounds have benefited from their solar system both financially AND environmentally, regardless of their income- and in fact, some of the quickest solar spread has happened in typically more middle class areas. In September 2014, the city of Edmonds, WA, a small city just north of Seattle, reported a 350% increase in solar panel permits from last year- and that's just one example!

Have you thought about solar before, but assumed it was out of your price range? Think again! If you're curious about your home's solar potential, the time has never been better to call SolTerra Systems at 800.865.9005 or email us at!


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