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  1. This project sought to enable electric utilities in Texas to accelerate diffusion of residential solar photovoltaic (PV) by systematically identifying and targeting existing barriers to PV adoption. A core goal of the project was to develop an integrated research framework that combines survey research, econometric modeling, financial modeling, and implementation and evaluation of pilot projects to study the PV diffusion system. This project considered PV diffusion as an emergent system, with attention to the interactions between the constituent parts of the PV socio-technical system including: economics of individual decision-making; peer and social influences; behavioral responses; and information and transaction costs.more » We also conducted two pilot projects, which have yielded new insights into behavioral and informational aspects of PV adoption. Finally, this project has produced robust and generalizable results that will provide deeper insights into the technology-diffusion process that will be applicable for the design of utility programs for other technologies such as home-energy management systems and plug-in electric vehicles. When we started this project in 2013 there was little systematic research on characterizing the decision-making process of households interested in adopting PV. This project was designed to fill that research gap by analyzing the PV adoption process from the consumers' decision-making perspective and with the objective to systematically identifying and addressing the barriers that consumers face in the adoption of PV. The two key components of that decision-making process are consumers' evaluation of: (i) uncertainties and non-monetary costs associated with the technology and (ii) the direct monetary cost-benefit. This project used an integrated approach to study both the non-monetary and the monetary components of the consumer decision-making process.« less
  2. Despite impressive declines in average prices, there is wide dispersion in the prices of U.S. solar photovoltaic (PV) systems; prices span more than a factor of four. What are the characteristics of the systems with low-prices? Using detailed characteristics of 42,611 small-scale (<15 kW) PV systems installed in 15 U.S. states during 2013, we identify the most important factors that make a system likely to be low-priced (LP). Comparing LP and non-LP systems, we find statistically significant differences in nearly all characteristics for which we have data. Logit and probit model results robustly indicate that LP systems are associated with:more » markets with few active installers; experienced installers; customer ownership; large systems; retrofits; and thin-film, low-efficiency, and Chinese modules. We also find significant differences across states, with LP systems much more likely to occur in some states, such as Arizona, New Jersey, and New Mexico, and less likely in others, such as California. Our focus on the left tail of the price distribution provides implications for policy that are distinct from recent studies of mean prices. While those studies find that PV subsidies increase mean prices, we find that subsidies also generate LP systems. PV subsidies appear to simultaneously shift and broaden the price distribution. Much of this broadening occurs in a particular location, northern California.« less
  3. Residential adoption of solar photovoltaics (PV) is spreading rapidly, supported by policy initiatives at the federal, state, and local levels. Potential adopters navigate increasingly complex decision-making landscapes in their path to adoption. Much is known about the individual-level drivers of solar PV diffusion that steer adopters through this process, but relatively little is known about the evolution of these drivers as solar PV markets mature. By understanding the evolution of emerging solar PV markets over time, stakeholders in the diffusion of solar PV can increase policy effectiveness and reduce costs. This analysis uses survey data to compare two adjacent marketsmore » across a range of relevant characteristics, then models changes in the importance of local vs cosmopolitan information sources by combining theory relating market maturity to adopter behavior with event-history techniques. In younger markets, earlier, innovative adoptions that are tied to a preference for cosmopolitan information sources are more prevalent than expected, suggesting a frustrated demand for solar PV that segues into adoptions fueled by local information preferences contemporary with similar adoptions in older markets. Furthermore, the analysis concludes with policy recommendations to leverage changing consumer information preferences as markets mature.« less
  4. The wealth of information available on seemingly every topic creates a considerable challenge both for information providers trying to rise above the noise and discerning individuals trying to find relevant, trustworthy information. We approach this information problem by investigating how passive versus interactive information interventions can impact the antecedents of behavior change using the context of solar energy adoption, where persistent information gaps are known to reduce market potential. We use two experiments to investigate the impact of both passive and interactive approaches to information delivery on the antecedents (attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control in the Theory ofmore » Planned Behavior) of intentions and behavior, as well as their effect on intentions and behavior directly. The passive information randomized control trial delivered via Amazon Mechanical Turk tests the effectiveness of delivering the same content in a single message versus multiple shorter messages. The interactive information delivery uses an online (mobile and PC) trivia-style gamification platform. Both experiments use the same content and are carried out over a two-week time period. Lastly, our findings suggest that interactive, gamified information has greater impact than passive information, and that shorter multiple messages of passive information are more effective than a single passive message.« less

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"Rai, Varun"

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