How the neighbor effect influences residential solar panels installations
- Business of Solar
People all around the country are rapidly learning of the many advantages involved in owning a rooftop solar PV system. While the cost savings and eco-friendly benefits can be displayed for interested parties in lists and charts, sometimes these data points aren't effective enough to help people make the final decision to install solar panels on their homes.
The impact of the neighbor effect
It turns out though, that viewing the solar modules in action also plays a significant role in swaying homeowners into making the choice to generate residential solar power. According to a recent study in the Journal of Economic Geography, proximity to an existing residential solar system was one of the biggest indicators of where a new one would arise. The researchers discovered that in Connecticut, between 2005 and 2013, once a rooftop solar panel was installed, the average number of other installations within a half-mile radius grew by 0.44. They concluded that when neighbors and friends witnessed firsthand the positive effects solar power had on the person who installed it, they rushed to follow suit. The authors dubbed the phenomenon the "spatial neighbor effect."
This isn't an isolated conclusion either. In another recent study, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin came to a similar conclusion. They found that while information about PV systems is prevalent, many people don't have the time to sift through the numbers and data necessary to commit to making the investment. However, potential PV adopters that have a trusted information network composed of friends, family and neighbors already using solar power can tap into the bank of knowledge there to help guide them.
The authors went on to state that rooftop solar systems had both an active and passive influence on the potential PV adopters. From the personal interactions of hearing about the benefits from friends and family members to simply seeing these products popping up across their neighbors' rooftops, the proximity of the solar panels influences the decision-making process.
When it comes to residential solar PV systems and their growing popularity, the old saying is true: Seeing is believing.
What neighbors are seeing
There's a wide range of advantages that are catching the eye of prospective PV purchasers. From the low maintenance-high reward benefits to the multi-decade lifespan of the modules, and from the generous tax incentives to the aesthetics, friends, family members and neighbors can pick and choose their reasons for wanting to install a rooftop solar system.
Low maintenance, high rewards
Although residential solar PV panels require an upfront investment, once the installation is complete, there's very little maintenance involved in the upkeep of the system. Further, a smart solar solution like Trinasmart provides real-time panel-level monitoring to track performance and pinpoint any potential problems with detailed alerts and analytics.Trinaswitch, another smart solar solution, ensures rapid system shutdown in the event of power outage and AC loss. Armed with this functionality, homeowners can ensure they're maximizing their energy yields and quickly obtaining their return on investment.
The reason solar panels can provide such great rewards with so little maintenance is due to their durability. Solar panels are designed to withstand the harsh elements and long-term exposure to extreme weather. As an example of their durability, solar companies offer 25- to 30-year lifetime warranties for panels, so homeowners know they can continue to reap the benefits of this clean, renewable energy source for decades.
Great tax incentives
One of the biggest obstacles to prospective PV purchasers can be the initial investment. And although this potential adopter may be well-versed in all the details about which models to buy, how to set up the balance of system, the optimal layout for maximum sunlight and more, these individuals may not know all of the tax incentives and financing options available for rooftop solar installations, or how effortless it is to obtain them.
When people hear tax incentive, they might think it's going to be a hassle filling out extra forms every year. Some may even erroneously assume they might end up paying more taxes over the long term. However, individuals who have gone through the process of obtaining the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit can attest to the relative ease of the whole process by dispelling rumors of long bureaucratic delays or the complexity of the forms. Once their friends and family know it's not so bad and the tax incentive actually works to their benefit, interested solar-panel buyers are much quicker to take that final step.
A person's home is their castle and they want it to be representative of their tastes and styles. There might be some homeowners who believe adding solar panels to the roof might throw the house's aesthetics off-balance. In addition, many people might have an outdated mental image of solar panels, and are unfamiliar with the latest designs.
However, getting an up-close visual of how solar panels look in action atop their neighbor's roof highlights to prospective buyers that it's a lot better than they might have initially imaged. In fact, based on the studies referenced above, the sight of houses with solar panels ultimately makes them more likable and attractive to neighbors as they drive or walk past.
In addition, the dual-glass design of Trina Solar's DUOMAX panels eliminates the traditional blue or black backsheet. This unique aspect lets the transparent panels capture the energy of solar power while also allowing the sun to shine through, making them an ideal choice for carports or backyard greenhouses.
As friends and family share their stories about how they came to the conclusion to install a residential solar PV system, they naturally discuss ways to save money, cut costs and avoid mistakes - information that friends and family typically share with each other. There's also the natural inclination for people to show off their new toys and gadgets at gatherings. These social exchanges ultimately instill confidence in prospective PV adopters and act as the final impetus to get them to install their own residential solar systems.
Smart Energy Solutions
delivered straight to your inbox