By Roy L Hales
April 17, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - A new poll confirms California's solar revolution appears to be unstoppable. The respondents were parents, 81% of whom said they want to live in a solar powered home. The majority, 67%, also wants solar to be the world's primary energy source when their children grow up.
More than 10 GW of solar capacity has been installed in California, enough to electrify 2.4 million homes during peak hours.
A significant portion of the solar energy in California is coming from rooftop installations, homes and businesses, and more than 25,000 of those roofs are in San Diego County.
Three main factors are emerging. Ease of acquisition, accessibility in finance, and the fact that people want it.
The survey, conducted by Wakefield Research for solar provider Sungevity, interviewed 1000 US parents between March 18 and 25, using an email invitation and on-line survey. Perhaps reflecting the energy demands facing families with children, parents indicated it would be harder to go on an energy diet than a food diet.
The price of solar panels has fallen dramatically since 2009. 75% of those asked said the leading reason they would consider solar is to save money.
Solar adoption is on the rise also because companies are making it easy to install the panels
Rich Swisshelm didn't intend to settle in Sabre Springs. He came to San Diego County on temporary assignment and stayed because of the sunshine. Three years ago, Rich went solar with Sungevity.
Software technology made the process easy. Rich entered his email and address online, and Sungevity’s iQuote technology showed Rich how much energy he would generate with solar, and what the panels would look like on his roof. This ease is important for parents, for whom juggling schedules of different activities this is the norm.
Nearly all parents surveyed (88%), believe teaching their kids about alternative energy is just as fundamental as teaching them good manners.
Rich Swisshelm likes the idea of obtaining energy "without burning any fossil fuels whatsoever", but it was the energy savings that sold him on a rooftop solar system. He leases the panels on his roof, and the amount he pays is less than his energy bill.
“My system is creating more energy than projected” says Rich.
Studies show that a homeowner is 3 times more likely to put solar on their roof if one of their neighbors has already done so. With more and more San Diego residents using solar to power their homes, the city can expect the number of new systems to increase at near-exponential rates.
Rich’s neighbor, two houses away, already had panels installed. “They’re saving money also” says Rich “It’s really a no-brainer, every home owner in San Diego should do it.”
95% of parents believe it’s their responsibility to teach their children about alternative energy sources, in order to create a better environment for future generations. They want to look back in 20 to 30 years and feel like they made a difference.