Who chooses to install a solar energy system? Liberal-minded consumers who want to go green? Rich people? Or is the typical solar customer someone else entirely?
As it turns out, income and politics are not so important when deciding to adopt alternative energy.
According to research studies from Yale University, along with the University of Connecticut and New York University, a phenomenon known as the peer effect plays a larger part in the decision to adopt solar energy.
What Is the Peer Effect?
Essentially, the peer effect is about keeping up with the Joneses.
In other words, the choices that consumers make are often driven, at least in part, by comparisons we make between ourselves and our peers. If we see our friends and neighbors doing something — anything, really — then we are more likely to do it ourselves.
When it comes to solar energy, peer influence is often associated with how people want to be perceived by their neighbors.
These days, more and more consumers want to be seen as environmentally responsible, but they want even more to be considered as fiscally wise. Installing photovoltaic panels is an eco-friendly choice, but its real value lies with the financial benefits it offers.
In any community, when one homeowner installs a solar power system, others nearby are more likely to become green with envy about all the money their neighbors are saving.
How Peer Influence Affects Solar Energy Adoption
The Yale studies found clear evidence that peer influence positively affects adoption of solar power.
Geographic clustering of photovoltaic installations occurs at the ZIP code level, with every 1 percent increase in the number of installations leading to a 1.15 percent increase in the daily adoption rate.
More impressive is the affect that these installations have on the neighborhood level. Each 1 percent increase results in the adoption rate jumping by 9.28 percent, according to the research.
The Impact of Peer Effect on the Future of Solar Energy
Industry analysts are encouraged by how peers and neighbors influence solar power adoption.
One of the biggest costs for any industry is the acquisition of new customers. If word-of-mouth can help do that job, it results in big savings for everyone, thanks to bulk purchasing discounts. Those savings are passed on to the consumers, lowering the costs of investing in photovoltaic power.
Here at Intermountain Wind & Solar, we work with neighborhoods and communities to develop bulk purchasing programs that facilitate solar adoption. And once we demonstrate to our future customers how much money they can save each month on their power bills, the peer effect takes care of itself.
Are you interested in learning more about how a photovoltaic power system can benefit you? Intermountain Wind & Solar can design a cost-effective, cost-saving solar energy system for your home or business.