There are a number of factors driving the growth of solar energy in the U.S., and recent findings indicate that women are among the major decision-makers doing so.
Increasing the amount of renewable energy in the U.S. is something that every American citizen has a stake in. The benefits of zero-emissions electricity, like solar, are well documented. Solar installations can make homeowners independent of their utilities, which eliminates monthly power bills in the process. In other situations, a solar lease can allow a consumer to lock in a low, fixed rate for energy that is often lower than the utility would typically charge.
The case for going green is becoming increasingly strong, especially as the cost of solar continues to fall. The Solar Energy Industries Association reported that the price of a system fell roughly 15 percent during the last year. This in turn helped fuel the growth of the industry, in terms of installed capacity which increased by 41 percent, totaling 4.75 gigawatts.
Women help drive growth
Renewable Energy World reported that when it comes to making the decision to go solar, women have been instrumental in much of the country. Roughly 80 percent of women control their families' budgets and bill payments in the U.S. Because of the impact that residential solar can have on monthly utility bills, the news source noted that women are among the main drivers behind deciding to go solar.
Though women are among the biggest decision-makers when it comes to going solar, their representation in the industry needs to increase, according to Raina Russo, an industry researcher.
"We need more women in the solar workforce, and we need to market to women," she said, according to the news source.
Because women play such an important role in the decision-making process, she posited that they could make a better case to other women, who might be in similar situations when it comes to monthly bills.
While larger plants tend to make up a majority of the installed capacity, the solar industry's residential segment is expected to post the strongest growth going into the future. Over the next year, the SEIA anticipates that total installations will approach 6 gigawatts.
The key is being able to understand the impact that an installation can have on monthly energy expenses. An investment in solar can post consistent returns, making it a great decision for controlling monthly expenses and freeing up some extra room in the monthly budget.