What Drives Social Contagion in the Adoption of Solar Photovoltaic Technology?

Dr. Stefano Carattini

Post-doctoral Fellow
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Date: 22 May 2017 (Monday)
Time: 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Venue: Room B5-416, 5/F., Academic 1 (AC1), City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

School of Energy and Environment
City University of Hong Kong


Increasing the use of renewable energy is central to address climate change. Recent research has suggested the existence of social contagion in the adoption of solar panels, which may contribute to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy. While the existing literature has focused on residential adoption only, we extend the analysis to private firms, and farms, and include solar panels with different characteristics. We exploit a unique large dataset providing detailed information on about 60’000 solar installations in Switzerland, including their specific location at the street level and details on the timing of the technological adoption, and couple it with rich socioeconomic data at the municipality level. We find that decisions of households to adopt the solar technology are dependent on pre-existing adoption, and in particular on spatially close, and recent, installations. Firms and farms PV adoptions react to neighboring PV panels, although in a lesser extent than households. Furthermore, they are more influenced by panels installed by their same type of owner. We also observe that adoptions are more heavily stimulated by building-integrated than building-attached PV systems and by larger PV systems.

About the Speaker

Dr. Stefano Carattini is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. He is also affiliated with the Grantham Research Institute at the LSE. His research focuses on the political economy and effectiveness of environmental policy. He has worked on waste and carbon taxation as well as more broadly on cooperation in the climate commons and the diffusion of climate policy. He was the recipient of the 2015 Heinz König Young Scholar Award, delivered by the Mannheim Centre for European Economic Research, ZEW. His research has been funded, among others, by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, the EU Cost Action INOGOV, and the Cantons of Geneva and Vaud, Switzerland. He obtained a PhD in Economics from the University of Barcelona, and a MSc in Economics from the University of Lausanne.

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