1/3 of North American Businesses Have Some Solar, Says E Source

July 20, 2015 By Linda Hardesty

E SourceA surprisingly large portion of midsize and large businesses across the US and Canada have installed solar panels, according to the E Source market research report “How Photovoltaics and Distributed Generation Will Disrupt the Utility Industry: 2015 Quantitative Research Results on Business Customer Acquisition of Systems.

E Source surveyed 802 respondents at non-residential facilities during March and April 2015 in eight targeted industry segments and found that more than one-third of businesses surveyed report having some on-site solar installed at their largest site, with two segments – retail and grocery – reporting the greatest market penetration. Nearly half of those solar adopters installed their first systems over five years ago, showing that this trend is not entirely new.

E Source focused on energy decision-makers at businesses with 50 or more on-site employees across eight market segments: manufacturing, retail, grocery, restaurants, offices, healthcare, lodging, and government/schools.

Only 17 percent of customers spent no time at all thinking about PV, while almost half spent up to a day or more considering it. Averaging these hours suggests that these business respondents spent, on average, just over 12 hours in the past year thinking about PV, and this indication didn’t differ much between those with PV (just over 13 hours) and those without PV (11.5 hours).

Solar interest has broad support across businesses: 83 percent say they’ve spent time considering solar options in the past 12 months and half of those spent a full day to more than a week studying solar. The greatest study times were seen in the government/education sector.

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3 comments on “1/3 of North American Businesses Have Some Solar, Says E Source

  1. Lies, damn lies, and statistics. The claim is 1/3 of NA business have some solar.

    Only sites with 50+ employees are considered. The latest US Census numbers that I found indicate that >89% of US business have 19 or fewer employees. Can we agree that the study is focused on a small subset of businesses?

    Then we learn that schools and government sites are included, which are decidedly not businesses.

    Conservation and alternative energy sources are done a disservice each time that a sensational headline can be so easily discredited.

  2. This is the problem with the way the media reports surveys; it fails to take into account that there such a thing as poor or shoddy statistical analysis which exactly what this E Source “survey”is. You cannot use a sample size is small as 802 to get a accurate representation of what are millions of businesses across the US and Canada.

    The way I see it, this is nothing but a unpaid advertisement by E Source which, sadly, the media eats up because it has such a tasty headline attached to it.

  3. It is a subset of businesses, that is correct, which is pretty common with any poll or survey done. You take a sample to represent a larger population and there are calculated error bands and confidence levels that are associated with different samples. The 800 responses are, in fact, representing about 2 million large businesses.

    This study focused solely on the behavior of large businesses because they are of particular interest to utilities and solar developers due to the fact that they use so much energy per site. So while small businesses dominate in numbers, the do not dominate in electricity use. Second, energy managers are found almost exclusively in large businesses, which was the focus of the study.

    For more information on the results or methodology of the study, you are welcome to reach out to us directly! 1-800-ESOURCE

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