How solar power spreads among neighbors ‘like a contagion’ 0

solar-contagionAre solar panels a green status symbol?

A new study finds strong linkage between one home’s solar panel and the likelihood another nearby will go green. Known as peer effects, the upshot is simple: “In some sense, it’s the ‘Keeping up with the Jonses’ idea,” said Kenneth Gillingham, a co-author on the study.

Gillingham is an assistant professor of environmental and energy economics at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. The study, published in The Journal of Economic Geography, could help a range of solar advocates better target their efforts, from utilities and regulators to third-party installers.

“Green envy” is Gillingham’s favorite way of explaining it. Or perhaps, “conspicuous conservation.”

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