Two DOE-funded Studies Offer New Insights into Low-to-Moderate Income Solar Adoption

June 20, 2020

Two DOE-funded Studies Offer New Insights into Low-to-Moderate Income Solar Adoption

This webinar will cover two new data-driven studies examining solar adoption by low-to-moderate (LMI) households, a much-discussed but less-studied area.

LMI households represent 42% of total potential for residential rooftop solar in the United States, yet solar adoption has been concentrated among middle- and upper-income households. Two new studies, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies (SEEDS) program use data-driven methods to identify characteristics, motivations, and barriers to solar adoption in LMI communities.

The first study, “More alike than different: Profiles of high-income and low-income rooftop solar adopters in the United States”—authored by Kim Wolske at the University of Chicago—compares the motivations of LMI and high-income PV adopters in California. The results showed that these two groups are similar in their motivations for solar adoption.

Next, “Solar for all? Residential PV policy, potential and penetration in low-to-moderate income communities”—authored by Tony Reames of the University of Michigan—analyzes spatial trends in LMI solar adoption in four major U.S. cities to estimate relationships between PV penetration and socioeconomic, demographic, and housing characteristics. The results showed significant mismatches in LMI potential as compared to its realized penetration, and identifies several neighborhood-level predictors.

Both authors will discuss their findings in this webinar. Ben Sigrin, who leads the SEEDS project at NREL, will also explain the program’s broad goals. This is a great chance for policy makers and solar developers to get new insights into the low-income solar market in the United States.

Learn more about SEEDS at