Through the years, you may have seen solar energy here, there, and everywhere in between — well, almost.

Solar energy user Rose Hale lives in rural Knox County in Tennessee.

Hale is able to power her renovated hay barn with mostly solar energy, sometimes for days on end. She only sends the power company a few bucks a month.

“There will be some nights that I go past midnight without even touching the grid,” said Hale.

In case of bad weather or something more cataclysmic, Hale likes having the peace of mind that solar energy brings her.

“I wanted to be able to take care of myself if there was a catastrophic outage,” Hale said.

The Tennessee Valley has been slow to adopt residential solar energy, compared to regions with more dependable sunshine.

Charles Sims, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee Department of Economics, studied 3,000 people around the Tennessee Valley to learn what makes them tick — when their meter is ticking up.

Sims said that peace of mind could be a sticking point for people in rural areas to adopt to using at-home solar energy.

“We saw lots of interesting high willingness to pay in rural areas that I wasn’t expecting either,” said Sims.

He discovered that, on average, folks around the valley were only willing to pay $500 for at-home solar energy.

But after recent power outages, businesses won’t tolerate “blackout dates.”

“What we found is that the biggest driver is that upfront cost,” continued Sims. “So, if that cost goes down, that’s going to have a big impact on people’s adoption [of at-home solar energy].”