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Middle-Class Homeowners Biggest Buyers of Rooftop Solar
If you thought there was financial exclusivity in installing residential rooftop solar panels, think again.
Households with middle-class income—$40,000 to $90,000—are adding panels to their roofs more frequently than any segment, according to a report from the Center for American Progress (CAP).
"Middle-class homeowners are overwhelmingly taking advantage of rooftop solar," said Mari Hernandez, a research associate at CAP told ClimateWire. "It really is becoming more of a middle-class tool and a middle-class energy resource."
That's been especially true of residents in Arizona, California and New Jersey, the three states with the most growth in solar-panel installation from 2011 to 2012. While CAP's report centers on residents in those states, the educational institute says its findings are aligned with trends around the country.
The report shows that the average income of those getting the installations is far from the high end of the middle-class range. Median income for residents in Arizona and California was $40,000 to $50,000, and $30,000 to $40,000 in New Jersey.
Since 2000, U.S. residents installed more than 1,460 megawatts (MW) of solar energy on the roofs of their homes. More than 80 percent of that capacity was added in the last four years. They installed 488 MW in 2012—a 62-percent increase over 2011 installations and almost double the capacity added in 2010.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) of Northern California reported the highest number of rooftop solar customers in the country, with more than 95,000 as of September. That figure has been growing by about 1,800 each month.
"Installation costs have dropped," said David Eisenhauer, a PG&E spokesman. "We're really encouraged to see more and more people installing rooftop solar across all income levels.
"We definitely agree that rooftop solar's come of age."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Claire O'Connor
Agriculture is on the front lines of climate change. Whether it's the a seven-year drought drying up fields in California, the devastating Midwest flooding in 2019, or hurricane after hurricane hitting the Eastern Shore, agriculture and rural communities are already feeling the effects of a changing climate. Scientists expect climate change to make these extreme weather events both more frequent and more intense in coming years.
In Long Beach, California, some electric buses can charge along their route without cords or wires.
When a bus reaches the Pine Avenue station, it parks over a special charging pad. While passengers get on and off, the charger transfers energy to a receiver on the bottom of the bus.
EPA Watchdog: White House Blocked Part of Truck Pollution Investigation, Caused Lack of Public Information
The Trump administration pushed through an exemption to clean air rules, effectively freeing heavy polluting, super-cargo trucks from following clean air rules. It rushed the rule without conducting a federally mandated study on how it would impact public health, especially children, said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Inspector General Charles J. Sheehan in a report released yesterday, as the AP reported.