Clean Power surprising things about people who go solar infographic

Published on November 29th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


Do Women Actually Lead The Way On Home Solar?

November 29th, 2013 by  

The common assumption in the solar industry is that men are the ones who drive solar purchasing decisions. I think I’ve seen two surveys that came to this finding, but the one I’m able to recall for sure and find is a 1BOG survey from 2011 or 2012. The 1BOG survey polled 200 solar homeowners. It found that, among married couples of the opposite sex, “the first person in the household interested in going solar” was male 68% of the time, female 11% of the time, and both/neither/other 21% of the time. “The person who did most of the footwork to make it happen” was male 77% of the time, female 15% of the time, and both/neither/other 8% of the time. (See an infographic with the results on the bottom of this page.)

This breaks with the norm for household spending and home improvements, which are 80% controlled by women and 80% women initiated by women, respectively.

CleanTechnica US demographicsHowever, men are known for being more into “tech” and especially new tech. So, those survey results (and perhaps others) seemed to fit. I know from moderating our comments for years that we have many more guys commenting on solar than women (very unofficial and anecdotal, but it fit the assumption). Also, our US demographics index has us at 153 male to 49 female (see screenshot on the right).

But a couple of ladies in the solar industry, Raina Russo of #SolarChat and Glenna Wiseman of Identity3, had a hunch that solar purchasing trends actually lined up more with the household spending and household improvements norms, so they went and conducted “the industry’s first woman-directed survey,” with “20 questions based on Marti Barletta’s five stages of buying.” Their findings did show that women dominated the solar purchasing process. Here are their findings in 5 stages of the purchasing process:

  • Stage 1: Deciding when to enter the market. About 63% of women surveyed said that if they’d had the discussion about going solar, they were the ones who initiated it. About 27% of discussions were initiated by both partners, with only about 11% by men alone. The numbers were similar for doing the legwork and research.

  • Stage 2: The short list. Over half — 56% — of respondents who had pursued solar for their homes talked to 2 – 3 companies once they were serious about it. While this result is not specific to women, it shows that we need to start by selling consumers the idea of solar, not a specific company.

  • Stage 3: In-person meeting. Choosing a contractor was more of a joint effort, with 67% of respondents doing that with their partner. When just one partner made the decision, though, it was far more likely to be the woman: women picked the contractor by themselves in 30% of cases, compared to 3% for men.

  • Stage 4: Paying bills. As noted previously, in most households, women are the ones who pay the bills and track the budget. That was borne out in this survey: 83% of respondents said they’re the ones who pay the bills.

  • Stage 5: Word of mouth. Women like to share information with their friends, family, and co-workers. But we don’t like to do it for money. When asked to rank the gifts they’d prefer as a thank-you for going solar, 76% of women said they’d like a check back, while only 26% preferred a check for each friend they referred — numbers were even lower for non-monetary gifts (the numbers reflect that each woman could rank multiple options). Given that women are such an important part of the market, solar companies may want to rethink giving referral checks.

Interesting stuff.

So, is this a case of one survey getting it right and another getting it wrong? I don’t thin so, actually. My hunch is that the buyer process has become more in line with the norm (for household improvements) as the solar market has started to mature. Perhaps the huge rise in solar leasing as a percentage of the market has also had something to do with it. But who knows for sure? I think this topic does warrant more research to come to stronger conclusions.

What are your thoughts on this?

surprising things about people who go solar infographic 
Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.”
Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.


Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) one letter at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of EV Obsession, Gas2, Solar Love, Planetsave, or Bikocity; or as president of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, energy storage, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media:, .

Back to Top ↑
  • Advertisements

  • Top Posts & Pages

  • Cool Cleantech Events

    Low Voltage Electrification Event, April 25-27. Detroit, Michigan (US)
    Delve deep into the benefits and challenges associated with EV power supply.

    Offshore Wind Market Development USA, May 11-12, Boston, Massachusetts (US)
    Network and establish your business in one of North America’s largest energy industries.

    Energy Storage USA, June 15-16, San Diego, California (US)
    Only event in the United States focused exclusively on the commercialization of storage.

    More details are on: Cleantech Events.

  • Advertisement

  • CleanTechnica Electric Car Report

    Electric Cars Early Adopters First Followers
  • Tesla Model 3 Review by EVANNEX

    Tesla Model 3 Review from EVANNEX
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Video

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Pictures

    Tesla Model 3 Video
  • Tesla Model X Review #1 (Video)

    Tesla Model X Review from new owners Zach Shahan
  • Tesla Model X Review #2 (Pictures)

    Tesla Model X Review from Kyle Field
  • Tesla Model S Long-Term Review

    Tesla Model S Long Term Review from Kyle Field
  • Nissan LEAF Long-Term Review

    Nissan LEAF Long Term Review from Cynthia Shahan
  • Interview with Michael Liebreich

    Interview with Michael Liebreich
  • Interview with Akon (Teslas & Solar)

    Interview with Akon Tesla Model S Tesla Model X Solar Power Africa
  • Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany

    Interview with Dr Nawal Al-Hosany
  • Interview with Gro Brundtland

    Gro Brundtland
  • Interview with President of Iceland

    President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
  • Interview with Nick Sampson

    Faraday Future VP Nick Sampson
  • Interview with Dipal Barua

    Dipal Barua 1st ZFEP WInner
  • Interview with Jonathon Porritt

    Jonathon Porritt
  • Interview with Clint Wilder

    Interview with Clint Wilder
  • Interviews with Solar Impulse Pilots

    Bertrand Piccard Andre Borschberg
  • Check out more CleanTechnica Videos.

  • Join The Solar Revolution!

    Edison-solar-energy solar-energy-spill-nice-day
  • Cost of Solar Panels

  • Search the IM Network