The transformation of southern California's residential photovoltaics market through third-party ownership

Easan Drury, Mackay Miller, Charles M. Macal, Diane J. Graziano, Donna Heimiller, Jonathan Ozik, Thomas D. Perry IV

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

149 Scopus Citations

Abstract

Third-party photovoltaics (PV) ownership is a rapidly growing market trend, where commercial companies own and operate customer-sited PV systems and lease PV equipment or sell PV electricity to the building occupant. Third-party PV companies can reduce or eliminate up-front adoption costs, reduce technology risk and complexity by monitoring system performance, and can repackage the PV value proposition by showing cost savings in the first month of ownership rather than payback times on the order of a decade. We find that the entrance of third-party business models in southern California residential PV markets has enticed a new demographic to adopt PV systems that is more highly correlated to younger, less affluent, and less educated populations than the demographics correlated to purchasing PV systems. By enticing new demographics to adopt PV, we find that third-party PV products are likely increasing total PV demand rather than gaining market share entirely at the expense of existing customer owned PV demand. We also find that mean population demographics are good predictors of third-party and customer owned PV adoption, and mean voting trends on California carbon policy (Proposition 23) are poor predictors of PV adoption.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)681-690
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy Policy
Volume42
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-51514

Keywords

  • PV adoption barriers
  • PV incentives
  • Third-party PV ownership

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