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Why are people interested in clean energy products for their home – and in what order do they buy th

As the home energy market continues to grow and evolve thanks to new product innovations, major support from the government, and homeowners looking for sustainable ways to save money, the types of people exploring things like solar, batteries, and heat pumps are also changing. At EnergySage, we believe that the best way to understand what’s driving interest in clean energy products is to simply ask! With that in mind, we recently completed our third nationwide survey, the 2022 EnergySage Consumer Survey, to gain insight into how the average person thinks about clean energy – here’s what we found:

Key takeaways

  1. The Inflation Reduction Act provides significant clean energy incentives; people who are aware of these incentives are more interested in purchasing clean energy products and are more likely to do so sooner.

  2. Across the board, the ability to save money is the primary driver of interest in clean energy products.

  3. On the flip side, cost and affordability are the biggest barrier to wider spread adoption of those same money-saving products.

  4. Over 20% of people start their clean energy journey with a smart thermostat.

  5. Get started on your own clean energy journey with EnergySage.

Policy awareness: the IRA increased interest in energy products

In August 2022, Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a large spending bill that provides incentives and benefits across many different industries. Within the pages of the bill is the country’s largest investment in climate change to date – it authorizes $369 billion in spending towards clean energy and climate action.

The IRA includes incentives for solar and storage through extending the investment tax credit, credits for energy efficiency home improvements, a clean vehicle tax credit for new and used electric vehicles (EVs) and more. These incentives are significant and, in general, people who are familiar with the incentives are much more likely to express increased interest in cleantech: according to our survey, between 50 and 60% of respondents are more interested in solar, storage, EVs and smart panels as a result of the IRA.

However, there remains a sizable education gap: only 56% of people surveyed were familiar with the clean energy incentives in the IRA. This is a major opportunity to continue to educate homeowners on the ways in which this new bill can help them save money.

Clean energy interest: saving money is number one

In our survey, we asked why people are primarily interested in various clean energy products, including rooftop and community solar, storage, EVs, and heat pumps. Across the board, respondents indicated that the primary reason for their interest in these products is financial: people are aware that these technologies can help reduce their bills, and are interested in purchasing them to save money.

Interestingly, when we asked people who have already adopted various clean energy products what their primary reason for doing so was, they also said to save money. In other words, the cost-saving potential of clean energy products doesn’t just drive awareness and interest – it’s also the primary reason people purchase these products.

Biggest obstacle: perceived costs

On the other hand, when we ask people who say they’re not interested in purchasing clean energy products why they decided not to adopt these products, their answer is the exact opposite from that of adopters: cost. There are three primary ways in which cost plays a role – some people say they can’t afford a product, others say it’s more expensive than they anticipated, and finally, some don’t think the investment is worth the cost.

Importantly, while cost is a real barrier, in many instances the barrier is truly just the perceived cost of clean energy products. It’s true that the upfront cost of these products can be higher than anticipated, but there are many tax incentives and rebates that can reduce the level of investment required to adopt clean energy products – and often the lifetime savings from this technology far outweighs the upfront investment cost.

This is another indication of the importance of incentives and rebates for clean energy products like those included in the Inflation Reduction Act; given that perceived affordability is a major barrier to purchasing clean energy technology, incentives and rebates (and simplifying them for consumers) are key to unlocking greater adoption of these products and meeting decarbonization goals and targets.

Energy journeys: in what order are people purchasing energy products?

With so many different types of clean energy products to choose from, we’re often asked where people should start their clean energy journeys and how they should map out the rest of the products they plan to purchase. With that in mind, we asked respondents to list the order in which they plan to purchase (or already have purchased) a series of different home electrification products: solar, storage, EVs, EV chargers, heat pumps, smart thermostats, energy efficiency audits and upgrades, main electric panel upgrades and induction stoves.

According to survey respondents, there are four primary entry points into the clean energy revolution: just under a quarter of people begin with smart thermostats, while about one in eight people begin with either energy efficiency retrofits, an EV, or solar on their roof.

Looking at the overall picture, a few clear pathways and purchase patterns begin to emerge, regardless of which product people choose to begin their clean energy journey:

  1. Solar is typically followed by storage;

  2. Storage is typically followed by upgraded electrical panels;

  3. EV purchases are typically followed by EV chargers;

  4. EV chargers are not typically followed by anything, perhaps indicating that people don’t know where next to go in the journey after purchasing an EV and its charger;

  5. And, heat pumps are installed in conjunction with smart thermostats or energy efficiency measures, and are often followed by storage.

About EnergySage Intel

As the country’s largest online renewable energy marketplace, EnergySage is uniquely positioned to track and analyze trends across the clean energy landscape. This includes consumer demand and trends, as well as real-time pricing, equipment availability and preferences, brand market share, and more for solar, storage and other clean energy products. To augment this data, EnergySage runs both installer-facing and consumer-facing surveys, allowing us to better understand the rapidly changing market dynamics. EnergySage data and insights are relied upon by top-tier journalists, government agencies, leading utilities, respected research groups, well-known brands and many others.

Start your clean energy journey with EnergySage

Regardless of where you plan to start your clean energy journey, EnergySage is here to help. Check out our explanations, reviews, and decision guides for solar panels, batteries, EVs, smart thermostats, heat pumps, energy management systems and more. If you’re ready to start shopping for any of these products, visit the EnergySage Marketplaces for rooftop solar, community solar and heat pumps to get started comparing your options to join the clean energy revolution today.

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