According to a joint Yale and New York University study, homeowners are more likely to install solar panels on their homes if one of their neighbors have them.The study, titled “Peer Effects in the Diffusion of Solar Photovoltaic Panels”, examined solar installation patterns in California between January 2001 and December 2011.
The researchers found that a resident living in a particular zip code was more likely to install solar panels on his/her roof if their neighbors had already installed solar panels. To put it in numbers, for every 10 additional solar panel installations in a zip code, the probability of solar panel adoption for a household increases by 7.8 percent.
There were two other factors that confounded the increase in solar panel adoption: 1) how visible solar panels were, and 2) word-of-mouth among the area residents. It seems that people were too nervous to embark on installations alone, but when they saw that their friends and neighbors had done it, they felt more comfortable and went on to install solar panels on their own rooftops.
The researchers hope that information from this study will help policy makers and marketers develop appropriate subsidies for solar power and improve the diffusion process. Solar companies in San Diego will surely benefit from the study’s findings, as they have implications for community involvement. Another benefit from these findings; knowing that installing solar panels within a certain zip code can lead to more referrals and solar projects, especially since word-of-mouth is such an important contributing factor.
Have you installed solar panels after seeing your neighbor do so? Are you inspiring others to go solar? Let us know!
If you’re interested in more information regarding solar panel installation in California, please contact Solaire Energy Systems.