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Information Searching in the Residential Solar PV Market

This paper examines the consumer information search behavior of households in San Diego County with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. We focus on whether solar PV households financing the technology through third-party ownership (TPO) versus host-ownership (HO), which is equivalent to leasing or buying goods in other markets, have heterogeneous preferences as reflected by information search. Conditional on adoption, we find that TPO households tend to seek more information on home modifications required for solar installation whereas HO households seek more information on the financial returns of solar investments. These preferences may be correlated with the consumption of other goods and services, and thus, if used to inform marketing strategies, our results could help reduce solar PV customer acquisition costs and accelerate technology diffusion. They also have indirect implications for marketing goods and services in other contexts where consumers exhibit similar preferences.

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Keywords: Renewable Energy, Technology Diffusion, Customer Acquisition, Information Search, Third-Party Ownership

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.41.4.jple

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Published in Volume 41, Number 4 of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.