Residential Solar-Adopter Income and Demographic Trends: 2021 Update

Residential Solar-Adopter Income and Demographic Trends: 2021 Update

TitleResidential Solar-Adopter Income and Demographic Trends: 2021 Update
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsGalen L Barbose, Sydney Forrester, Eric O'Shaughnessy, Naïm R Darghouth
Date Published04/2021

The report describes income, demographic, and other socio-economic trends among U.S. residential rooftop solar adopters. The report is based on data for roughly 1.9 million residential rooftop solar systems installed through 2019, representing 82% of all U.S. systems. With its unique size, geographic scope, and level of detail, this report is intended to serve as a foundational reference document for policy-makers, industry stakeholders, and researchers.

Key findings include the following:

  • Solar adopters generally skew towards higher incomes, though that trend continues to diminish over time.
  • Solar adopter incomes vary considerably and encompass many low-to-moderate income (LMI) households.
  • Solar-adopter incomes are consistently higher for systems paired with battery storage, for host-owned systems, and for systems installed on single-family homes.
  • Solar adopters differ from the broader U.S. population in terms of a variety of other demographic and socioeconomic measures.
  • State-level comparisons indicate that solar-adopters tend to live in neighborhoods with relatively high non-Hispanic White and Asian populations, and with relatively low Hispanic and Black populations.

In conjunction with the report, Berkeley Lab has published an updated accompanying set of online data visualizations that allow users to further explore the underlying data. Berkeley Lab is also offering related analytical support to states, local agencies, and other organizations on issues related to solar adoption among low-to-moderate income households; requests for analytical support may be submitted through this online form.


A webinar discussing this research, recorded on April 22, 2021, can be viewed here