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Solar Power is Just Like Flu: You Can Catch It From Your Neighbor

800px Solar panels on house roof Solar Power is Just Like Flu: You Can Catch It From Your NeighborResearchers from Yale and New York University [NYU] recently completed a study of solar installations in California, covering January 2001 to December 2011. What they found might not be particularly shocking, but according to the study released in Marketing Science, neighbors who have solar panels are more likely to get more neighbors with solar panels.

“We looked at the influence that the number of cumulative adoptions—the number of people who already installed solar panels in a zip code—had on the probability there would be a new adoption in that zip code,” said Kenneth Gillingham, the study’s co-author and assistant professor of economics at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.

According to the study, a zip-code with 10% more solar installations is apt to see a 54% increase in the number of additional installations when compared with another area. Gillingham notes that visibility and word-of-mouth played a big part in additional solar installations appearing, as well as neighborly competition, or one-upping to get the latest technology.

“These results provide clear evidence of a statistically and economically significant effect,” said Bryan Bollinger, study co-author and assistant professor of marketing at New York University Stern School of Business, and “have clear implications for marketers who are striving to reduce the high cost of consumer acquisition in the solar photovoltaic market.”

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