WEDNESDAY 06 APRIL, 2011 |
Australia's Home Solar Power Revolution And The Viral Effect
Households installing solar power systems now are likely playing a bigger role
in the Australian renewable energy revolution than they may realise.
While the uptake of solar in Australia is in part due to coverage by
environmental groups, government raising awareness, solar
and the marketing efforts of companies in the sector; individuals and
families play an important role in its spread - simply by installing a system.
In a hat-tip to those going solar, a 2010 Stanford
study by Bryan Bollinger and Kenneth Gillingham entitled "Environmental Preferences and Peer Effects in the
Diffusion of Solar Photovoltaic Panels" found that that a 1% increase in the number of installations
in a postcode region in the USA decreases the time until the next adoption by roughly
The results, they say, provide evidence supporting the importance of peer
effects in the uptake of rooftop solar panels. The authors say the geographic clustering appears to occur at both a
postcode and neighbourhood level, and does not just match the density or the
"greenness" of an area.
The paper mentions image motivation being a factor in the clustering, whereby households
witness neighbours installing a solar
and decide to also pursue an installation to be able to also project a green image.
Another important way is through information-transfer in the process of social
learning - a fancy term in this instance for neighbours having a chat;
discussing their experience with a particular solar installer and contributing to another
person's decision to install.
While many green activities a household may participate in occur indoors or out
in the back yard and out of the sight of others; solar panels are often highly
visible to neighbours and passers-by.
These panels not only represent a tool for generating clean, renewable energy,
but are a billboard for the potential of a clean energy future for Australia; a
future with a strong focus towards distributed
and a revolution based on power to the people, by the
people, for the people.
Other news for Wednesday 06 April, 2011
Return to main renewable energy news section
Other Energy Matters News Services