"Millennials Set to Propel Solar Industry" Says Green Solar Technologies COO Edward Harner

In 2016, Millennials (Generation Y) began to surmount the obstacles, like slow earnings growth, a weak labor market and soaring student loan debt, that sat between them and homeownership. Since the 2016 turnaround, homeownership in the under-35 and 35-to-45 age groups has rapidly increased. Zillow Research economist Aaron Terrazas recently commented on this trend, saying, “Millennials have been on a buying spree the last few years.”

Millennials are also becoming the largest consumer demographic on the market, overtaking baby boomers. And according to the consumer advocacy group Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC), millennials are very eager to take advantage of new energy technologies compared to non-millennials. This is good news for the solar industry.

Green Solar Technologies COO, Edward Harner states, “At Green Solar Technologies, we’ve noticed that Millennials are particularly fond of new energy-related technologies like residential solar and ‘smart home’ concepts like onsite energy storage.”

A recent study from Accenture Consulting suggests that more than half of Millennial consumers will sign up for solar panels within the next five years. That compares to less than one-fifth of Baby Boomers, defined as those born from 1946 to 1964. Based on these facts, the potential increase in solar panel installations in the near future is staggering.

Millennials constitute 66% of all first-time home buyers, and they are 34% of home buyers overall. Two out of three plan to purchase a new home within the next five years. Millennials are also better informed about their options than prior generations, so home sellers are realizing that they must do more to make their homes attractive to millennial buyers. Sellers, for example, are performing energy efficiency audits on their properties and making upgrades such as installing solar panels.

“As we see a shift from a nation of renters to a nation of environmentally conscious buyers, it’s clear that Millennials will be the generation to propel the solar industry into the future,” Harner continues.

Founder of Green Solar Technologies, Nicki Zvik, adds, “The trends we’re seeing are great news for the solar industry and for the progression of the green energy movement.”

Millennials tend to be more environmentally conscious and more inclined than older generations to utilize new technologies, making solar energy systems attractive to them. In fact, though Millennials are money-conscious, even if solar energy provided no cost savings over traditional forms of electricity, Millennials would still view solar as a viable option for their home. A great number of Millennials see climate change as their most pressing concern, and they are prepared to do whatever they can to prevent it. And thankfully for millennials (as for all generations), being green can actually save them significant money over time.

Harner continues, “Due to rapidly advancing technology, solar is no longer out of reach for the general public. In fact, solar is more affordable than ever, and while solar is still an investment, it’s extremely doable and begins paying off immediately by drastically lowering electricity bills.”

“Solar is a money-saver,” says Nicki Zvik, “and Millennials are recognizing that installing solar panels will improve their finances in the short and long term. Not only will solar reduce their electricity bills, it can also add value to their home should they decide to sell, and they can even sell extra electricity they generate back to the utility companies.”

Millennials have grown up in a much more environmentally-conscious age, where alternative energy is accepted as both viable and preferable to fossil energy. And the cost of installing solar dropping more than 70% between 2010 and 2016 greatly incentivises them to go solar. So now that they are becoming such a potent force in the homeowner market their impact on the solar industry will surely be momentous. If the Millennial influence on solar installations were an equation, it would look something like this: Millennial home buyers + environmental awareness + reduced solar costs = powerful surge in solar installations.

Edward Harner notes, “With Millennials as well as younger generations being so ‘pro-solar’ it looks like the solar industry will be seeing some major growth for a very long time.”

Zvik concludes, “Eventually, solar will be the primary source of energy for homes and businesses across the world. Future generations will see fossil fuels as the alternative, and that’s something to really look forward to.”

Edward Harner is the COO of Green Solar Technologies.

Nicki Zvik is the Founder of Green Solar Technologies and real estate investment company, Spectrum Properties.

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