Income-targeted marketing as a supply-side barrier to low-income solar adoption

Elsevier, iScience, Volume 24, Issue 10, 2021, 103137,
Authors: 
Eric O'Shaughnessy, Galen Barbose, Ryan Wiser, Sydney Forrester

Low- and moderate-income (LMI) households remain less likely to adopt rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV) than higher-income households. A transient period of inequitable adoption is common among emerging technologies but stakeholders are calling for an accelerated transition to equitable rooftop PV adoption. To date, researchers have focused on demand-side drivers of PV adoption inequity, but supply-side factors could also play a role. Here, we use quote data to explore whether PV installers implement income-targeted marketing and the extent to which such strategies drive adoption inequity. We find that installers submit fewer quotes to households in low-income areas and those households that receive fewer quotes are less likely to adopt. The data suggest that income-targeted marketing explains about one-quarter of the difference in PV adoption rates between LMI and higher-income households. Policymakers could explore a broader suite of interventions to address demand- and supply-side drivers of PV adoption inequity.