People are more likely to install solar panels if their neighbors already have them, according to a study performed by Yale and New York University:

The researchers studied clusters of solar installations throughout California from January 2001 to December 2011 and found that residents of a particular zip code are more likely to install solar panels if they already exist in that zip code and on their street.

“We looked at the influence that the number of cumulative adoptions—the number of people who already installed solar panels in a zip code—had on the probability there would be a new adoption in that zip code,” said Kenneth Gillingham, the study’s co-author and assistant professor of economics at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. “Our approach controls for a variety of other possible explanations, including clustering of environmental preferences or marketing activity.”

The study also points to word-of-mouth and visibility as encouraging factors to solar panel adoption.

The study also shows that the visibility of the panels and word-of-mouth led to larger installations. “If my neighbor installs a solar panel and tells me he’s saving money and he’s really excited about it, it’s likely I’ll go ahead and do the same thing,” said Gillingham. “Then there are others who’ll install because they don’t want to be one-upped by their neighbors.”

It seems like “keeping up with the Jones’” can benefit the environment!

Read the full article here: http://scienceblog.com/57226/solar-power-in-neighborhoods-is-contagious/

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