Keeping up With the Jones—With Solar Power!

Keeping up With the Jones—With Solar Power!

by on in Solar Energy, Solar Panels, Solar Power, Solar Rebates

When someone in a community or town goes solar, it helps get their neighbors thinking the same thing. The thought process that begins with: “Well, Marge and George did it, maybe we should too” and leads to more solar power in the neighborhood.  

SolarCity recently published a blog—not really a report—about how solar adoption is spreading. Solar power continues to grow at extraordinary speed across America. The company, the largest residential solar installer in the country, observed three commonly referenced reasons for the adoption of solar: lower solar panel costs, fighting climate change and pro-solar policies, but it also said that people talking to friends and neighbors about solar power has led to many people going solar.Contagious Solar Cities. Courtesy SolarCity

“More than one in three SolarCity customers have gone solar because they were referred by a friend or neighbor—who was actively spreading the word about the benefits of rooftop solar power,” wrote SolarCity’s Barry Fisher. “Seeing solar panels on a neighbor's rooftop and word-of-mouth conversations can both be key motivators to go solar, as verified by a fascinating study from Yale University researchers.”

SolarCity looked into its wide range of installations across the U.S.—it has more than 230,000 installations across the country and looked at cities where that network of people with solar had led to others going solar in a contagious fashion through the company’s ambassador program (the company offers cash to those in its ambassador program). Communities from New Jersey to Hawaii experienced the phenomenon, but Fort Collins, CO, led SolarCity’s top 10 communities for referrals. Fully 69 percent of its solar customers in the city were referred by a friend. In Kona, HI, 64 percent were referred by friends and in Gloucester Township, NJ, it was 62 percent.

“What is it that makes these cities highly ‘contagious’ for rooftop solar? It certainly has something to do with people’s outspoken passion for solar energy there,” Fisher opined. “But we can also speculate that it has something to do with sociology and community vibrancy—wherein neighbors and friends are enthusiastic about connecting, sharing information, and helping each other.”

It should also be noted that SolarCity is just one installer. It’s quite likely that those talks with neighbors and friends have led to others going solar with other installers and homeowners should often consider numerous installers and consumer reviews when going solar, a service that makes easy with roughly 20,000 consumer-generated reviews of solar installations. 

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