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Determinants of Residential Solar Photovoltaic Adoption

Hawaii is a leader in distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) adoption. It has the highest rate of PV-based electricity penetration in the U.S. and rivals global front runners (Trabish, 2016). The policy impetus towards large-scale adoption of renewable energy in Hawaii comes from its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), with a target of 40% net electricity sales from renewable sources by the year 2030 and 100% by 2045. Rooftop PV provides the largest share of renewable energy in Hawaii’s electricity generation portfolio. Much of the growth in PV has been through residential systems, as nearly 17% of homes, and 32% of single-family homes on Oahu have PV (Trabish, 2016). The adoption of distributed PV by Hawaii’s households has been motivated by a combination of Hawaii’s high electricity prices, federal and state solar PV income tax credits, net-energy metering (NEM) and other grid-supply arrangements, as well as strong solar resources (Coffman et al., 2016). This study analyzes demographic factors related to residential PV system adoption in Hawaii. It provides an econometric analysis, augmented by maps, to better understand the demographic characteristics of households adopting PV systems. Understanding drivers of past uptake is important to gaining insight into future trends, particularly as Hawaii continues towards its 2045 RPS goal of 100%.

Working Paper


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