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Photovoltaics is contagious: you install more if the neighbors do

Why did someone decide to install solar panels on roof? We go beyond the models that attempt to define an identikit of the typically citizen that choose photovoltaics: a new study - conducted in Connecticut - reveals that it is often a fashion. If neighbor does install a PV then people are more inclined to do so.


Usually it is believed that people who install a photovoltaic system on the roof, are people quite wealthy, with environmental ideas that decides to make an ethical choice, at least in the US. A new study by two researchers at Yale and published in the Journal of Economic Geography, linking the spread of PV on the roof, not so much to economic resources and political ideas, as the influence of the neighborhood.
It 's like buying a car and choosing a particular model based on what they represent in the eyes of those who see us at the wheel. One of the authors of the study, Kenneth Gillingham, even talk of "envy" wanting to be green so you can show everyone.


 Gillingham has carried out the study with Marcello Graziano of the University of Connecticut's, using data from the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority of the State, the institution providing the incentives to invest in photovoltaic technology. Well, within half a mile, the number of installations of a plant on the roof in the last 6 months in a certain area increased by 44%. At the same time, if the area is larger, the influence of neighbors tends to decline.



Also socio-demographic variables have also been considered in the Study. "I expected it was a choice of the most wealthy communities. And indeed it is, in large part. It's not that so many people considered poor are installing the panels, but a lot of middle class people are doing" said Gillingham.


It 's very significant the case of Durham, with its 8000 residents (a little less). Here are focused the majority of PV systems, an area in which, however, the population is not rich nor very interested in to environmental problems.

But also remember that Connecticut has provided a variety of incentives so that people would pass to the sun (7.617 projects were supported residential), was also launched SOlarizing, a program designed to towns that can benefit from competitive prices whether to sign it are many people in the same area. And this is connected perfectly with the study: if the neighbors are skilled in their work of persuasion, the PV becomes even more attractive.

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