EnergySage published its fourth semiannual Solar Marketplace Intel Report™, providing a comprehensive analysis of consumer behavior, demographics, and preferences, as well as a complete account of industry trends in the U.S. residential solar market in 2016.
This latest edition of the industry-leading report presents several new datasets and analyses including an expanded list of new states, a review of the community solar landscape, and greater insights into solar shopper demographics. According to EnergySage data, the typical solar shopper is a mid-career male in his mid-40s with interests in real estate, financial services, and home services in addition to solar energy.
This most recent report also features a new section analyzing residential solar data by utility territory. EnergySage compared the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of solar to today's electricity rates in territories served by Commonwealth Edison Co., Consolidated Edison (ConEd), Dominion Power, Florida Power & Light Co., Southern California Edison, and Xcel Energy. In all service areas, the LCOE of solar is lower than the 2016 residential electricity rate offered by the utility, affirming the comparative benefits of solar as a low-cost energy source.
Other key insights in the latest Solar Marketplace Intel Report include:
Solar prices are falling at accelerating rate
Between H1 2016 and H2 2016, gross cost per watt on EnergySage dropped by 6.25%. That is more than triple the rate of decline from the first EnergySage Solar Marketplace Intel Report from July 2014 to June 2015, and the greatest rate of decline measured in any of the reports to date. This trend may reflect improved operational efficiencies at solar companies, lower customer acquisition costs via online channels like EnergySage, increased competition, and the low cost of solar panels and inverters.
More quotes result in more sales
Consumers who receive offers from multiple solar installers are significantly more likely to complete a solar purchase. EnergySage users who received 5+ quotes in 2016 were nearly eight times more likely to buy than those who received only one quote. These results offer a clear message: quotes from multiple installers will increase consumer confidence, and solar shoppers should be encouraged to seek multiple quotes.
Solar shoppers are mostly male
EnergySage used Solar Marketplace demographic data to develop a profile of today's solar-interested consumers, and found that three out of every four solar shoppers (77%) are male. This gender imbalance presents an opportunity for the solar industry to develop new messaging and outreach strategies to attract more female shoppers, and expand the product category to achieve true mass-market appeal.
"This latest report speaks to the importance of transparency and comparison-shopping in residential solar," said EnergySage CEO and founder Vikram Aggarwal. "For the consumer, getting more quotes empowers them to make better-informed decisions. For the installer, more quotes results in increased consumer confidence, which in turn results in a higher likelihood of purchase. Comparison-shopping platforms like EnergySage make win-win situations like this possible."
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