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Will nonowners follow pioneer consumers in the adoption of solar thermal systems? Empirical evidence for northwestern Germany

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  • Woersdorfer, Julia Sophie
  • Kaus, Wolfhard

Abstract

In Germany, solar thermal systems (STSy) have only diffused to a minor extent as yet. This paper analyzes which demand side factors are decisive for the further proliferation of this environmentally benign technology. Making use of a consumer survey in northwestern Germany in 2007, we examine the following parameters: positive environmental attitude, knowledge of the applicability of STSy to satisfy consumer needs, and the presence of STSy among peer consumers. Drawing upon theoretical foundations from innovation economics and social psychology, we posit that these variables play a different role at distinct stages of the systems' diffusion process. Among nonowners, concrete plans to purchase such a system within the next two years are distinguished from the general interest to invest in this technology within the next five years. Probit models are estimated to test our hypotheses. Our results do not indicate a strong take-off of product diffusion within the next few years. By generating interest for the product, environmental attitude and knowledge as well as household income are important determinants of prospective adoption on the part of nonowners. However, it is only peer group behavior that appears to function as a trigger for the diffusion of this technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Woersdorfer, Julia Sophie & Kaus, Wolfhard, 2011. "Will nonowners follow pioneer consumers in the adoption of solar thermal systems? Empirical evidence for northwestern Germany," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(12), pages 2282-2291.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:70:y:2011:i:12:p:2282-2291 DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.04.005
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    Cited by:

    1. Cantono, Simona, 2012. "Unveiling diffusion dynamics: an autocatalytic percolation model of environmental innovation diffusion and the optimal dynamic path of adoption subsidies," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201222, University of Turin.
    2. Grazia Cecere & Nicoletta Corrocher & Cédric Gossart & Muge Ozman, 2014. "Lock-in and path dependence: an evolutionary approach to eco-innovations," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(5), pages 1037-1065, November.
    3. Michelsen, Carl Christian & Madlener, Reinhard, 2011. "Homeowners' Motivation to Adopt a Residential Heating System: A Principal-Component Analysis," FCN Working Papers 17/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN), revised Jan 2013.
    4. Ladenburg, Jacob, 2014. "Dynamic properties of the preferences for renewable energy sources – A wind power experience-based approach," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 542-551.
    5. Andreas Chai, 2017. "Tackling Keynes’ question: a look back on 15 years of Learning To Consume," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 251-271, April.
    6. Cordes, Christian & Schwesinger, Georg, 2014. "Technological diffusion and preference learning in the world of Homo sustinens: The challenges for politics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 191-200.
    7. Sánchez-Braza, Antonio & Pablo-Romero, María del P., 2014. "Evaluation of property tax bonus to promote solar thermal systems in Andalusia (Spain)," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 832-843.
    8. González-Limón, José Manuel & Pablo-Romero, María del P. & Sánchez-Braza, Antonio, 2013. "Understanding local adoption of tax credits to promote solar-thermal energy: Spanish municipalities' case," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 277-284.
    9. Michelsen, Carl Christian & Madlener, Reinhard, 2013. "Motivational factors influencing the homeowners’ decisions between residential heating systems: An empirical analysis for Germany," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 221-233.
    10. Karytsas, Spyridon & Theodoropoulou, Helen, 2014. "Public awareness and willingness to adopt ground source heat pumps for domestic heating and cooling," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 49-57.
    11. repec:eee:rensus:v:75:y:2017:i:c:p:580-591 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Christian Cordes, 2014. "There are several ways to incorporate evolutionary concepts into economic thinking," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2014-02, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.

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