The role of peer influence in rooftop solar adoption inequity in the United States
Individual demand for emerging technologies can be influenced by the demand of other individuals within defined peer groups. These so-called peer effects have been demonstrated in emerging clean energy technologies such as rooftop solar. To date, peer effects have disproportionately driven solar adoption among relatively affluent households. Here, we use household-level income estimates of rooftop solar adopters to explore how peer effects drive adoption for low-income households. We find evidence of peer effects for both high- and low-income households and find that peer effects are generally stronger within than across income groups. Our results indicate that peer effects translate to adoption less frequently among low-income households. These results suggest that low-income peer effects are mitigated by barriers to low-income adoption. Heterogeneous peer influence is another demand shifter that explains the inequitable adoption of emerging technologies.
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An open-access version of this article published in Energy Economics can be downloaded here.
A replication folder with scripts and aggregated, non-proprietary data is available here.