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Beauty and the budget: A segmentation of residential solar adopters

Journal Title: Ecological Economics, 07.06.2019


The transition to renewable energy supply of buildings, especially distributed solar power, is a key element of climate change mitigation. As the policy landscape is shifting and financial incentives for renewables are increasingly phased out, a nuanced understanding of homeowners' intention to install solar panels is key for reaching a broad market appeal. By analysing a dataset of 408 Swiss homeowners' stated preferences in the context of building retrofits, this paper identifies two key segments of likely solar adopters, including a premium segment preferring coloured and building integrated solar modules, and a value segment with more price-sensitive customers. Differences between likely adopters and likely non-adopters, as well as between two distinct segments of likely adopters, are investigated along sociodemographic, psychographic, and social aspects. Our analysis shows that aesthetic aspects of solar panels are key for expanding the customer base, and that likely adopters are more likely than likely non-adopters to be surrounded by neighbours, friends, and relatives who have already installed solar panels. Our results also reveal that the premium segment cares more about aesthetic aspects in general purchasing decisions and shows higher ecological concern than the value segment.

Beatrice Petrovich, Stefanie Hille, Rolf Wüstenhagen

7 Jun 2019

Item Type
Journal paper
Subject Areas
business studies, economics