By James Strapp, vice president of Global Solutions for the Energy and Utilities Industry, IBM

As we mark this year’s Earth Day, we see greater interest in the use of renewable energy sources.

Decreasing energy production costs, increasing public environmental responsibility, and changing incentive policies are prompting more consumers to consider renewable energy sources.

Residential solar energy, in particular, is gaining traction around the world.

A new IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) survey of more than 41,000 consumers in six countries found that the major factors influencing the decision to “go solar” include environmental benefits, cost savings, energy independence, and reliability.

Through the end of this decade, robust growth is expected across all three market segments of solar power: residential, non-residential, and utilities. While utilities will account for the largest capacity growth, residential consumers have pursued solar with considerable enthusiasm, despite the relatively high – but steadily decreasing – price tag.

Dovetail Solar and Wind company, for example, estimates that it costs about $19,000 to invest in a five kilowatt, roof-mounted solar system for a home in the Midwestern U.S. Our study found that 65% of the respondents expected payback from their residential solar investment within five years.

Of the group of respondents in our survey who said they either had installed or intended to install solar equipment, 73% said they plan to do so within the next three years. Businesses – with their larger power needs – are moving even faster, with 70% planning to move ahead in two years or less.

Our study also found that solar installation was much less complex than the home owners originally thought: 59% expected a very complex operation, but only 38% found it complex, and 30% said described the process as “easy.”

Homeowners in our study fell into …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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