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Solar Adoption in Rural America

From Mike De Socio at CNET:

“We were able to find that adoption of these technologies is highly related to income,” Mayfield said. “We also find that education is also a main factor of these technologies.” In other words, rural Americans with higher incomes and more education are more likely to put solar panels on their roof or buy a heat pump.

I mean, yep.

And the big “solution” many companies turn to for low-income and low-education folks, is leasing. I’ve met maybe a handful of people who were a big fan of their lease, but they were markedly at the beginning of the craze in the early 2010s when the deals were much better. However, most leaseholders I’ve encountered, especially in recent times, have become cynical about solar, mainly due to poor service.

Solar leasing companies historically have very few service people available, and it often takes months of hassle to get people to come out. The usual scenario involves residents reaching out to the leasing company for months without a response or with dismissive gestures. As a last resort, the resident stops paying the monthly bill, finally grabbing the attention of the company. However, instead of getting someone to fix the system, the company contacts someone like me to disable the system outright until payment continues.

Every single one of those kinds of jobs I’ve seen are on low-income housing. When these leasing companies mess up, it reinforces the belief that solar is a scam. Paired with fast-talking salesmen with no morals, leasing is the fastest way to introduce solar to low-income Americans — and a recipe for alienation.

Best way to educate, as with anything you want to incentivize, is to increase the accessibility of ownership.

Published innewssolarlog