Technological diffusion trends suggest a more equitable future for rooftop solar in the United States
Equity has become central in the academic and regulatory discourse shaping the future of residential-scale clean energy technologies in the United States, particularly rooftop solar. Here, we develop a holistic perspective on these issues by analyzing rooftop solar adoption trends using two alternative forecasting methods: an inside-view forecast based on historical solar adoption data, and an outside-view forecast based on adoption data for other emerging consumer technologies. We show how rooftop solar, like other emerging consumer technologies, has become more equitably adopted over time. We show that solar diffusion patterns are largely consistent with those of other technologies. Both forecasting methods suggest that clean energy technologies should be expected to become more equitably adopted over time. Policy could accelerate this process by supporting low-income adoption without unduly curbing overall diffusion.
Year of Publication
An open-access version of this article published in Environmental Research Letters can be downloaded here.