My casual analysis suggests that the residential solar system concentration in my neighborhood is much higher than most other neighborhoods in town. So what gives?
Experts have actually studied this phenomenon and it turns out that “Keeping up with the Joneses” is driving solar system installations nationwide, just as it seems to in Natick.
In 2014, an article in the Journal of Economic Geography examined the growth of rooftop solar power across Connecticut. The study noted that rooftop solar took hold in a few spots in 2005 and then spread out in a wave-like centrifugal pattern. The researchers considered several possible explanations for this pattern, such as population density or income. But in the end, they concluded that the evidence pointed in one direction: neighbor effects. Specifically, adding one rooftop system on a block increased the average number of installations in the immediate neighborhoods.
Solar power currently generates about only 0.4 percent of America's electricity, but it's expanding at a rapid rate, with a new rooftop system installed every four minutes, on average. There are a lot of reasons to explain this growth: many households save money immediately; property values go up; the industry is more mature; the hardware has proven to be reliable and virtually maintenance free; financing now allows you to go solar with no money down; escalating/fluctuating utility prices; concerns about electrical system reliability; and the opportunity to play a role in mitigating climate change.
Not every house is a good fit for solar: you need about enough roof space to park three Toyota Camrys or two Ford Explorers; the best roof faces south (although east and west facing roofs can work); and the structure should be sound with a roof in good condition. In Natick, we have nearly 400 homes that already have solar systems installed. Some solar companies estimate that there are another 1,000 homes in Natick that would be a good fit. Solarize Mass Natick is designed to make exploring your solar options easier and I encourage you to visit our website at www.solarizemassnatick.com
So, are you the Joneses or is it time for you to catch up with them?