Fact: Middle-income households are the driving force of the solar boom

Myth: Only the rich can afford solar panels

The Fallacy Explained:

Middle-income households are the driving force of the solar boom. The households that are most concerned about rising electricity prices are those with low- to-middle-income and those that are retired. As a result, these suburbs have the highest percentage of solar installations. Last year, the Center for American Progress released an article that found rooftop solar systems are mostly adopted in middle class neighborhoods with median incomes ranging from $40,000 to $90,000 in Arizona, California, and New Jersey. New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland have also adopted similar trends within the solar market. More than 80 percent of residential solar installations in New York and nearly 70 percent of residential installations in Massachusetts occurring in ZIP codes with median incomes ranging from $40,000 to $90,000.


Today, driven by the hundred-fold decrease in solar panel cost, solar energy is hardly a luxury that only high-income households can afford. Indeed, the greatest barrier to adoption of solar by all communities is the number of policies, tariffs, and procedural barriers that needlessly add to solar power cost and complexity. According to the Community Power Network, “Historically, the high cost of solar and the emphasis on incentives in the form of tax credits has put solar out of reach for the majority of Americans. But precipitously falling prices over the last five years, coupled with creative financing approaches, makes solar accessible for an increasing portion of the population.”

Digging Deeper: