Middle-Class Driving Solar Panel Installations
By lucas@endneoliberalism On 22 Oct, 2013 At 01:09 PM | Categorized As Green Business | With 0 Comments

Arizona, California, and New Jersey are the largest markets for residential solar installations and middle-class households constitute up to 79% of that market, according to a report by the Center for American Progress.

The rapid growth of roof-top installations seems to be immune to the recession. 80% of all residential solar panel installations since 2000 occurred in the past 4 years. In 2012 alone, rooftop solar installations reached 488 megawatts, a 62 percent increase over 2011 installations and nearly double the installed capacity added in 2010, reports Mari Hernandez for CAP.

The growing number of middle-class solar installations is mainly due to the ‘solar lease’ model because “it allows customers to amortize the cost of a system over time rather than pay for it all upfront” says Treehugger journalist Michael Richards.

Green Tech reports that today third-party financed residential installations comprise greater than 50 percent of new residential solar capacity in California, Arizona, Colorado and Massachusetts, with the model experiencing a growing market-share in 9 other states.

Green Tech also reports that the market for residential installations is highly competitive, with the largest 6 companies only controlling about 30% of the market, the next largest 15 companies controlling another 20%, and all others controlling 44% of the market. Astrum Solar, GRID Alternatives, American Solar Direct, Roof Diagnostics, are experiencing tremendous growth in 2013 and none of them belonged to the top 6 last year.

The rise of the US solar industry is creating high-paying jobs, as over 120,000 Americans work in the solar industry earning $27,000 to $120,000 a year.

In 2012, the United States experienced both economic growth and a drop in carbon emissions for the first time since record keeping began in 1949. A fundamental shift is happening in the United States as economic prosperity becomes highly dependent on environmental preservation.

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Picture credit: mjmonty CC by 2.0

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