Increased household adoption of solar photovoltaic systems has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with providing electricity. Although residential solar has recently become more affordable, market penetration in the U.S. remains relatively low. This study proposes a theoretical framework for investigating the psychological and social determinants of interest in residential solar drawn from three theories that may explain the decision to pursue it: diffusion of innovations theory, theory of planned behavior, and value-belief-norm theory. We test this framework using survey data from 904 non- adopter homeowners, with the aim of identifying potential levers for intervention. Overall, we find that consumers see solar electricity in multiple ways: as an environmental benefit, a consumer good, and an innovative technology. Notably, individuals who trust installers and believe solar will be personally beneficial are more likely to consider contacting an installer, as are individuals drawn to novel products. Pro-environmental personal norms indirectly increase interest through perceived personal benefits, suggesting that marketing efforts aimed at environmentally-concerned individuals may need to emphasize non-environmental benefits. The results also support leveraging trusted social networks to convey the benefits of solar. We conclude by discussing the value of the integrated framework along with implications for policymakers and marketers.
Areas of Focus: Energy Markets
, Renewable Energy
Well-functioning markets are essential for providing access to reliable, affordable energy. EPIC research is uncovering the policies, prices and information needed to help energy markets work efficiently.
Lower technology costs and supportive public policies are driving an increase in renewable energy in markets around the world. EPIC research is assessing the costs, benefits, and efficiency of policies...