Surprise, Surprise: Solar PV Adopter Income is Higher

In what may be a revelation to no one, the median household income of residential solar photovoltaic adopters is significantly higher than the overall average household.

But those differences are amplified considering that the densest penetration of solar PV adoption is in higher income states, while the disparity betweem adopters and non-adopters is lower when homeowners occupy those abodes, according to a new study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The Berkeley Lab’s search found that the average household income for all solar PV adopters topped $92,000 per year. This is 54 percent higher than the $60,000 for all households, although owner-occupied household income averaged $79,000.

However, “the gap is smaller for high-income states and is even inverted for the three states (Washington D.C., Massachusetts and Connecticut) with the highest statewide incomes,” the report reads. “In states with relatively low statewide incomes, PV-adopter incomes are also lower, but not to the same extent as the overall population of OO-HHs (owner-occupied households).”

The Berkeley Lab’s result indicate that most states are showing a decline in PV-adopter income over time. In D.C, that median has fallen from nearly $140,000 per adopter household in 2010 to about $80,000 two years ago, according to the report.

Minnesota’s adopter household income data has done a sort of V-shaped trend in only a three-year period. The first point showed a nearly $100,000 average in 2014, down to approximately $85,000 and back up to more than $90,000 by 2016, according to the report.

Several states such as New York, Ohio, Oregon and Vermont are showing little change or even slight increases in PV-adopter incomes, the Berkeley report reads.

Thirteen states were included in the sample. Results involving Washington D.C. were impacted by inclusion in a larger metropolitan statistical area that included higher income areas of Virginia and Maryland, according to the report.

The Berkeley analysis also builds off the lab’s “Tracking the Sun” reporting series. Funding came from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office.  For more on the report go to




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