Living with Solar Energy: Changing Attitudes and Assessments of Solar Adopters

Stephen W. Sawyer
Robert M. Wirtshafter

DOI: 10.2190/NDB8-Y4AV-AM6Q-DRPL


Information is provided on the experiences and current assessments of homeowners who installed active solar energy systems in the middle and late 1970s. These individuals were interviewed in the late 1970s and again in the fall of 1983. Comparison of the results of the original surveys with those in the follow-up survey provides insight in how assessments, satisfaction rates, system reliability, and related factors have varied over time. Our findings show that owner satisfaction levels remain high, estimates of the thermal contributions of the systems are only modestly below original expectations, domestic water designs and newer systems have low repair requirements and costs, and conservation rather than active solar measures are frequently recommended for potential owners. Implications for potential owners, the solar industry, and government policy are provided.

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