Enthusiasm for solar panels is contagious

Ars Technica » Scientific Method 2012-10-23

Residents are more likely to install solar panels on their own homes if their neighbors have also embraced the technology.

A study by Yale and New York University investigating the effects of social interaction on adoption of solar photovoltaic panels—i.e., whether other people's enthusiasm for solar power is contagious—discovered that an increase of just 10 solar panel installations in a zip code was accompanied by 7.8 percent increase in the probability of adoption by others.

In addition to this basic increase in the likelihood that neighbors would adopt the power source, the study also found that making the panels more obvious to others, either by increasing their visibility or by word-of-mouth, led to improved take-up rates particularly among those with longer commuting times and larger households.

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