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If Your Neighbor Has Solar Panels, You’re More Likely To Install Them

Solar panels on a suburban house

A new study suggests that if your neighbors have solar panels, then you and others in the area are more likely to install them as well. This is one instance where keeping up with the Joneses might actually be a good thing.

The study, conducted by researchers from Yale and New York University, observed various clusters of solar panel installations in California from January 2001 to December 2011. Findings showed that residents are much more likely to install solar panels if others within their zip code already have them, and even MORE likely if someone else on their street already has them.

As few as 10 extra solar installations in a zip code made it 7.8% more likely that someone else in the area would install them. A 10% increase in the number of people within a zip code with solar installations also shows a 54% increase in the number of those going solar.

The study also makes it clear that visibility and word-of-mouth have a big impact on whether or not people go solar. If your neighbor is pumped about his new panels and tells you about all the money he’s saving, you’re probably going to at least consider making the change. Then there are always the neighbors who cannot fathom being one-upped by anyone else in the area, so they will go ahead and do it as well. I guess there are times where that attitude CAN be a good thing.

Do you or your neighbors have solar panels? Do you see this effect happening with other environmental aspects within your area?

Image CC licensed by David Marsh

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