Renewable Energy Through a Household’s Viewpoint

14 Oct , 2014  

Islam, Towhidul and Nigel Meade.“The impact of attribute preferences on adoption timing: The case of photo-voltaic (PV) solar cells for household electricity generation.” Energy Policy. 55 (2013): 521-530. Web. 13 Oct. 2014.

In this article, the main concern was on how to sell PV solar technology to individual homeowners given the high costs of installation. Instead of focusing on marketing technology to a whole country, this article focuses a study on “micro-generation” or the marketing of products to homeowners. The hypothesis that were tested were the circumstances in which a household would prefer the PV solar power and how long it would take to “adopt” the energy source as opposed to electricity. The selling point on PV panels are that they have no negative environmental impact besides the production of the panels. Many different governments have financial incentives to install solar panels, but the researchers wanted to know what really impacted the choice that homeowners make. They discovered a variety of things some surprising and others expected.

The first discovery was that installation costs were dropping, but if people were aware of the dropping prices, they were more likely to wait longer to install for hopes that the price would continue to drop. They realized that a lack of information about the new technologies causes a slower adoption of the panels and that countries with higher government support adopt the technology faster. In this survey, they measured adoption rates using five variables: cost of installation, energy cost savings, an increase in emissions, and the payback period. While the researchers expected to see an “imitation effect,” meaning that households were more likely to adopt the technology if their neighbors did too, they did not find this as an issue for the homeowners sampled. This study was taken in Ontario, Canada where the government does give incentives for solar panel installation.

I thought that this article applied to my research because it is about PV panels for one, but it also explores the social and political side to solar panel development globally. Instead of a heavy focus on the technological side of the PV panels, the article discussed the effects of solar energy on everyday households, an issue that I find really important because it is the households and individual investors that can really bring up the future of solar power.  “Household level generation of solar energy for electricity generation in the USA is only .05%” currently. The government is impacting these small numbers, but the people have a right to take matters into their own hands and take part in so called “micro-generation.” Not to sound like a over-liberal greenie, but it is up to the people to become more environmentally friendly for the rest of generations to come.

By studying the energy policies in countries like Germany that have very high renewable energy usage, America and countries around the world could become more sustainable. My favorite part of the article was when the researchers said that a lack of information leads to slower adoption time of technology because this is a belief I strongly support. Information to homeowners could be the savior to currently expensive PV panels and other forms of solar energy.


1 Response

  1. crawfordml says:

    Use title case for article titles. Great job!

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