Evolution of Consumer Information Preferences with Market Maturity in Solar PV Adoption

Robert Margolis, D. Reeves, Varun Rai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus Citations


Residential adoption of solar photovoltaics (PV) is spreading rapidly, supported by policy initiatives at the federal, state, and local levels. Potential adopters navigate increasingly complex decision-making landscapes in their path to adoption. Much is known about the individual-level drivers of solar PV diffusion that steer adopters through this process, but relatively little is known about the evolution of these drivers as solar PV markets mature. By understanding the evolution of emerging solar PV markets over time, stakeholders in the diffusion of solar PV can increase policy effectiveness and reduce costs. This analysis uses survey data to compare two adjacent markets across a range of relevant characteristics, then models changes in the importance of local vs cosmopolitan information sources by combining theory relating market maturity to adopter behavior with event-history techniques. In younger markets, earlier, innovative adoptions that are tied to a preference for cosmopolitan information sources are more prevalent than expected, suggesting a frustrated demand for solar PV that segues into adoptions fueled by local information preferences contemporary with similar adoptions in older markets. The analysis concludes with policy recommendations to leverage changing consumer information preferences as markets mature.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberArticle No. 074011
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number7
StatePublished - 4 Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-68944


  • decision making
  • diffusion of innovations
  • information channels
  • soft costs
  • solar photovoltaic
  • technology adoption


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