Monday, November 13, 2023
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Interpersonal Dynamics of Residential Solar Adoption
Session ID
B1 - Why We Decarbonize (Or Don't)
Social Science Insights
Nicole Sintov

Most research on residential rooftop solar panel adoption characterizes the adoption decision as a one-time choice made by a single person. This perspective overlooks the interpersonal dynamics that often characterize such decisions (Hurst, Sintov, & Donnelly, 2023). Specifically, in multi-occupant households, which account for 72% of U.S. households (U.S. Census Bureau, 2023), the decision to adopt solar is not made by a single individual at a single moment in time, but rather by multiple people through the process of multiple conversations over time. Uncovering these interpersonal dynamics is critical to more accurately modeling solar adoption decisions. Such insights can be used to guide marketing and outreach efforts. The goals of the present research are to (1) characterize the interpersonal dynamics underlying residential solar panel adoption and (2) examine the impacts of these dynamics on residential solar adoption decisions. We report the results of four studies conducted with individuals who reside in the United States. In Study 1, we interview couples (target n=40) to characterize interpersonal dynamics involved in solar adoption decision processes. In Studies 2-4, we survey three different samples to identify the extent to which these interpersonal dynamics impact solar adoption decisions. Specifically, in Study 2, we survey prospective rooftop solar adopters to identify the impacts of interpersonal dynamics on solar information seeking and intent to adopt (target n =1000). In Study 3, we survey existing rooftop solar customers (target n = 500). In Study 4, we survey households who considered adopting solar but dropped out of the process (target n =200). We compare interpersonal dynamics among adopter versus non-adopter households.

Supporting Document 1