Solar panels have been proven to be a reliable source of energy, and recent advancements have made them more affordable than ever. However, the number of houses equipped with solar panels remains quite low, especially in most American states.
A team of researchers decided to learn more about the slow adoption rate of solar panels. The researchers and a non-profit organization that promotes the use of solar panels decided to test to types of messages, one based on self-interest and benefits and one which underlined the social benefits at a community-level.
Creating the experiment
The non-profit organization offers a comprehensive program that includes messages related to solar panels, essential information, and town-level initiatives where panels can be mounted ad a lower price for the community, which is already a great deal for some people.
For the experiment, the researchers created three distinct sets of towns with similar demographic traits. One set received self-interest messages, one set received pro-community messages, and the last set was a control one where no messages were shared. Official data about current trends among households as obtained from state and local authorities.
Chasing the money
According to the results, the self-interest message was more popular than the pro-community one, encouraging more people to invest in solar panels in comparison to the other set of towns, where the pro-community message led to a minor increase that wasn’t as noticeable.
People who named money as the primary reason for installing solar panels will enjoy more out of their panels, with calculations showing that the panels receive more solar energy on average days. Many were also more likely to make an upfront investment instead of alone a decision, which also boosted the rate of return of the panels.
The researchers concluded that messages should be tailored according to the financial levels of the target communities to maximize installation rates.