skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Understanding the Evolution of Customer Motivations and Adoption Barriers in Residential Solar Markets: Survey Data

Abstract

This research focused on accelerating solar photovoltaic (PV) diffusion by collecting new market data and developing predictive modeling frameworks to test and refine understandings of household level motivations for adopting solar. Three different household-level surveys were fielded: one for households who had installed PV on their current home or had signed a contract to do so (the Adopter survey), one for households that had seriously considered PV but had not installed it (the Considerer survey), and one for the general population who did not have PV on their current home (the general population survey or GPS). Survey respondents were from four U.S. states: New Jersey, New York, Arizona, and California. Details of recruiting and sampling are documented below. Research projects on residential PV adoption often collect data only from PV adopters or from the general population. One of the innovations of this project was the three-pronged household survey data collection. By collecting similar data from three fairly different "statuses" with respect to adoption, the surveys provide a basis for understanding how those who do not have rooftop PV differ from those who have, for how and why people do (or don't) transition from not having to having rooftop PV onmore » their home, and for understanding the characteristics and viewpoints of households who have scarcely, or not at all, entered the "PV consideration" track. All three surveys covered single-family owner-occupied households in each of the four target states used in the project -- Arizona, California, New Jersey, and New York - allowing a comparative approach to understanding how the factors that affect PV adoption vary by geography and policy conditions. The General Population and Considerer surveys provide a basis for understanding opinions about and interest in solar, and how these relate to household demographics and other conditions. Paired with the Adopter survey, they also provide data for understanding how those who do not have rooftop PV differ from those who have, and for how and why people do (or don't) transition from not having to having rooftop PV on their home. The Adopter survey questions were designed to capture a broad range of information on what motivates and impedes households to install rooftop PV, as well as the details and timing of the decision and installation. Survey instrument development drew from existing PV adoption survey instruments, PV adoption literature, and research team experience, as well as from past work on household interest in energy efficiency, environmental attitudes, purchasing tendencies, and related knowledge. Early interviews and discussions with installers and others in the PV industry were also taken into consideration.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Laboratory - Data (NREL-DATA), Golden, CO (United States); National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Solar Energy Technologies Office (EE-4S)
OSTI Identifier:
1362095
Report Number(s):
68
DOE Contract Number:
EE0026154
Resource Type:
Data
Data Type:
Specialized Mix
Country of Publication:
United States
Availability:
datacatalog@nrel.gov
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; NREL; energy; data; Residential Solar; Surveys; SEEDS; Technology Adoption; Customer; solar photovoltaic; PV; solar adoption; rooftop; pv consideration; Arizona; California; New Jersey; New York; geographic consideration; USA

Citation Formats

Sigrin, Ben, Dietz, Tom, Henry, Adam, Ingle, Aaron, Lutzenhiser, Loren, Moezzi, Mithra, Spielman, Seth, Stern, Paul, Todd, Annika, Tong, James, and Wolske, Kim. Understanding the Evolution of Customer Motivations and Adoption Barriers in Residential Solar Markets: Survey Data. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.7799/1362095.
Sigrin, Ben, Dietz, Tom, Henry, Adam, Ingle, Aaron, Lutzenhiser, Loren, Moezzi, Mithra, Spielman, Seth, Stern, Paul, Todd, Annika, Tong, James, & Wolske, Kim. Understanding the Evolution of Customer Motivations and Adoption Barriers in Residential Solar Markets: Survey Data. United States. doi:10.7799/1362095.
Sigrin, Ben, Dietz, Tom, Henry, Adam, Ingle, Aaron, Lutzenhiser, Loren, Moezzi, Mithra, Spielman, Seth, Stern, Paul, Todd, Annika, Tong, James, and Wolske, Kim. 2017. "Understanding the Evolution of Customer Motivations and Adoption Barriers in Residential Solar Markets: Survey Data". United States. doi:10.7799/1362095. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1362095.
@article{osti_1362095,
title = {Understanding the Evolution of Customer Motivations and Adoption Barriers in Residential Solar Markets: Survey Data},
author = {Sigrin, Ben and Dietz, Tom and Henry, Adam and Ingle, Aaron and Lutzenhiser, Loren and Moezzi, Mithra and Spielman, Seth and Stern, Paul and Todd, Annika and Tong, James and Wolske, Kim},
abstractNote = {This research focused on accelerating solar photovoltaic (PV) diffusion by collecting new market data and developing predictive modeling frameworks to test and refine understandings of household level motivations for adopting solar. Three different household-level surveys were fielded: one for households who had installed PV on their current home or had signed a contract to do so (the Adopter survey), one for households that had seriously considered PV but had not installed it (the Considerer survey), and one for the general population who did not have PV on their current home (the general population survey or GPS). Survey respondents were from four U.S. states: New Jersey, New York, Arizona, and California. Details of recruiting and sampling are documented below. Research projects on residential PV adoption often collect data only from PV adopters or from the general population. One of the innovations of this project was the three-pronged household survey data collection. By collecting similar data from three fairly different "statuses" with respect to adoption, the surveys provide a basis for understanding how those who do not have rooftop PV differ from those who have, for how and why people do (or don't) transition from not having to having rooftop PV on their home, and for understanding the characteristics and viewpoints of households who have scarcely, or not at all, entered the "PV consideration" track. All three surveys covered single-family owner-occupied households in each of the four target states used in the project -- Arizona, California, New Jersey, and New York - allowing a comparative approach to understanding how the factors that affect PV adoption vary by geography and policy conditions. The General Population and Considerer surveys provide a basis for understanding opinions about and interest in solar, and how these relate to household demographics and other conditions. Paired with the Adopter survey, they also provide data for understanding how those who do not have rooftop PV differ from those who have, and for how and why people do (or don't) transition from not having to having rooftop PV on their home. The Adopter survey questions were designed to capture a broad range of information on what motivates and impedes households to install rooftop PV, as well as the details and timing of the decision and installation. Survey instrument development drew from existing PV adoption survey instruments, PV adoption literature, and research team experience, as well as from past work on household interest in energy efficiency, environmental attitudes, purchasing tendencies, and related knowledge. Early interviews and discussions with installers and others in the PV industry were also taken into consideration.},
doi = {10.7799/1362095},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month = 6
}

Dataset:

Save / Share:
  • This Special Report of research activities describes a survey and analysis of the non-residential solar energy demonstration funded under the National Solar Heating and Cooling Demonstration Program. It covers a period of performance from July 1976 until submittal of the report in June 1977. This report reflects the result of a comprehensive questionnaire and survey of solar energy demonstration site contractors to assist the government program managers in assessing problem areas and reduce them in later project cycles. The survey includes a statistical analysis and evaluation of the responses. The analysis has placed the major problem areas to be administrativemore » costs not envisioned by firms and/or industry who have never been exposed to governmental ''red tape,'' timeliness of instrumented data and solar energy industries participation. The evaluation has placed specific solution emphasis on better Intro-agency communication, one agency responsibility for all communication between contractor and contractee and on site instrumentation and direct access to data via return line to contractee. However, the evaluation places equal responsibility upon solar energy industries products, market development and design modifications, assistance to building owners, A/E professionals and installation contractors.« less
  • High customer acquisition costs remain a persistent challenge in the U.S. residential solar industry. Effective customer acquisition in the residential solar market is increasingly achieved with the help of data analysis and machine learning, whether that means more targeted advertising, understanding customer motivations, or responding to competitors. New research by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Vanderbilt University, University of Pennsylvania, and the California Center for Sustainable Energy and funded through the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion (SEEDS) program demonstrates novel computational methods that can help drive down costs in the residential solar industry.
  • Although U.S. deployment of residential rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems has accelerated in recent years, PV is still installed on less than 1 percent of single-family homes. Most research on household PV adoption focuses on scaling initial markets and modeling predicted growth rather than considering more broadly why adoption occurs. Among the studies that have investigated the characteristics of PV adoption, most collected data from adopters, sometimes with additional non-adopter data, and rarely from people who considered but did not adopt PV. Yet the vast majority of Americans are non-adopters, and they are a diverse group - understanding their waysmore » of evaluating PV adoption is important. Similarly, PV is a unique consumer product, which makes it difficult to apply findings from studies of other technologies to PV. In addition, little research addresses the experience of households after they install PV. This report helps fill some of these gaps in the existing literature. The results inform a more detailed understanding of residential PV adoption, while helping ensure that adoption is sufficiently beneficial to adopters and even non-adopters.« less