There are a lot of big climate change stories grabbing headlines and a lot of them are deceptively depicting a renewable energy movement that’s stalling out at national and international levels. But on the ground, the story couldn’t be any more different. Renewable energy adoption, solar growth — and in turn, the growth of solar leads — are all taking off.
Why this is happening is fascinating — there’s no one factor that’s pushing solar growth, it’s a combination. Still, there is a certain demographic that stands out in the solar market: Millennials. That’s right. These days, those much-talked-about, 18-to-34-year-old Millennials are even influencing the renewable energy sector.
Want proof? Here are four ways Millennials are going to influence tomorrow’s marketplace as well as your solar energy business.
Dominating the Workforce
First off, there are a lot of them. Millennials overtook Baby Boomers and Generation X earlier this year as the biggest generation in the US workforce. The latest news from Pew Research Center says there are 53.5 million Millennials in the workforce — about one-third of all workers.
These young people aren’t just kids anymore, either. They’re taking on big responsibilities, earning real money, paying taxes, and building careers and lives. Soon, more and more will be settling down, buying homes, and raising families. To be sure, some of this generation has had a rough start entering a recession economy. But all indications are that their career prospects are quickly improving.
Harnessing Their Earning Potential
Next, Millennials are well educated and, consequently, well positioned for financial success. A whopping 34% of 25 to 29 year-olds hold a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, professional degree, or doctorate, according to Bloomberg. That’s more educated young people than at any previous time, according to records going back to 1968.
The same article points out the earning power such education will bring as the economy improves. Millennials already enjoy low unemployment — 2.9 percent for those college-educated 25 to 29 year-olds, compared to 5.3 percent for the general population. Plus, young adults with a college degree can expect to earn more — a median of $46,900 in 2012, compared to $30,000 for those without a degree.
Making Sustainability a Way of Life
It may sound odd, but Millennials are living more sustainably than previous generations while at the same time shying away from labels like “environmentalist.” In fact, only 32% see themselves as environmentalists, compared to 42% of Boomers and Gen X. For Millennials, green is just the new normal.
Buying Renewable Energy Solutions
That everyday green outlook translates into action when it comes to home energy solutions. This is already happening in some markets, such as San Diego, which so far in 2015 is experiencing “bullish growth.”
As Millennials come into their own, this is only going to increase and spread across the country. More Millennials will move into homeownership and as they do, they’ll look for ways to cut overall costs while dealing with rising home prices, mortgage rates, and traditional energy costs.
Just as their first instinct is to hope on a bike or the light rail for transportation, their first instinct to address their long-term home energy needs are going to be looking at renewable solutions. In fact, a majority are already curious about solar energy choices.
In an industry survey, a massive 62% of respondents said they’d be interested in learning more about rooftop solar systems. For Millennials in the survey, 58% said they were more interested in rooftop solar after learning more about the details, such as total costs, financing options, government programs, and long-term cost-saving benefits.
Based on the current trajectory, it looks like solar energy businesses and the renewables industry are going to forge a close relationship with Millennial customers, over both the short- and long-term. This is the new middle-class, the new working and home-buying generation, and the next generation of solar energy customers. Make sure your solar energy business is ready to take advantage of the coming solar growth.
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