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Center for American Progress: Residential Installations Overwhelmingly Occurring in Middle-Class Neighborhoods

Still think those embracing solar power are those who are so rich they can afford to lie by the pool on beach towels made of cash? (Or are so into environmentalism they only need solar panels to power the tree houses built into the trees they hug?) Not so fast, says the Center for American Progress.

The Center for American Progress analyzed the three states with the most residential solar systems — Arizona, California, and New Jersey — and found that installations are overwhelmingly occurring in middle-class neighborhoods that have median incomes ranging from $40,000 to $90,000. According to their report, “the areas that experienced the most growth from 2011 to 2012 had median incomes ranging from $40,000 to $50,000 in both Arizona and California and $30,000 to $40,000 in New Jersey.”

In other words, ordinary Americans are finding solar power to not just be desirable environmentally, but economically, as well. And this is an extremely important development, since once adoption increases, prices drop further still. Furthermore, communities are starting to form campaigns like this one called “Let’s Solarize” in Connecticut to encourage each other to go solar.

The trend is crystal clear: solar is the future, and even the best-known home in the country, the White House, is getting in on the act by installing solar panels on the roof. It’s part of President Obama’s commitment to have 20 percent of the federal government’s energy usage come from renewable power sources by 2020. The sun may be 93 million miles away, but the future of energy couldn’t be closer.