Title:

Solar Panels are Contagious

URL: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-87714-w
Summary: Using satellite imagery and machine learning techniques, this study finds that the density of solar panels within the shortest measured radius of an address is the most important factor in determining the likelihood of that address having a solar panel. The findings support the model of distance-related social diffusion, and suggest priority should be given to seeding panels in areas where few exist.
Highlights:

To design incentives towards achieving climate mitigation targets, it is important to understand the mechanisms that affect individual climate decisions such as solar panel installation. It has been shown that peer effects are important in determining the uptake and spread of household photovoltaic installations. Due to coarse geographical data, it remains unclear whether this effect is generated through geographical proximity or within groups exhibiting similar characteristics. Here we show that geographical proximity is the most important predictor of solar panel implementation, and that peer effects diminish with distance. Using satellite imagery, we build a unique geo-located dataset for the city of Fresno to specify the importance of small distances. Employing machine learning techniques, we find the density of solar panels within the shortest measured radius of an address is the most important factor in determining the likelihood of that address having a solar panel. The importance of geographical proximity decreases with distance following an exponential curve with a decay radius of 210 meters. The dependence is slightly more pronounced in low-income groups. These findings support the model of distance-related social diffusion, and suggest priority should be given to seeding panels in areas where few exist.

Topics: Environment:, Climate change mitigation, Energy efficiency
Location: US-California
Resource Type: strategies and interventions, consumer research
Publisher: Nature
Date Last Updated: 2021-04-23 09:51:30

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