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Profits or preferences? Assessing the adoption of residential solar thermal technologies


  • Mills, Bradford F.
  • Schleich, Joachim


Solar thermal technologies offer the potential to meet a substantial share of residential water and space heating needs in the EU, but current levels of adoption are low. This paper uses data from a large sample of German households to assess the effects of geographic, residence, and household characteristics on the adoption of solar thermal water and space heating technologies. In addition, the impact of solar thermal technology adoption on household energy expenditures is estimated after controlling for observed household heterogeneity in geographic, residential, and household characteristics. While evidence is found of moderate household energy expenditure savings from combined solar water and space heating systems, the findings generally confirm that low in-home energy cost savings and fixed housing stocks limit the diffusion of residential solar thermal technologies. Little evidence is found of differential adoption by distinct socio-economic groups.

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  • Mills, Bradford F. & Schleich, Joachim, 2009. "Profits or preferences? Assessing the adoption of residential solar thermal technologies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 4145-4154, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:37:y:2009:i:10:p:4145-4154

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Eimear Leahy & Richard Tol, 2012. "Greener homes: an ex-post estimate of the cost of carbon dioxide emission reduction using administrative micro-data from the Republic of Ireland," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 14(3), pages 219-239, July.
    2. Havas, Lisa & Ballweg, Julie & Penna, Chris & Race, Digby, 2015. "Power to change: Analysis of household participation in a renewable energy and energy efficiency programme in Central Australia," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 325-333.
    3. Schleich, Joachim & Klobasa, Marian & Brunner, Marc & Gölz, Sebastian & Götz, Konrad, 2011. "Smart metering in Germany and Austria: Results of providing feedback information in a field trial," Working Papers "Sustainability and Innovation" S6/2011, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).
    4. Gadenne, David & Sharma, Bishnu & Kerr, Don & Smith, Tim, 2011. "The influence of consumers' environmental beliefs and attitudes on energy saving behaviours," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 7684-7694.
    5. Michelsen, Carl Christian & Madlener, Reinhard, 2011. "Homeowners' Preferences for Adopting Residential Heating Systems: A Discrete Choice Analysis for Germany," FCN Working Papers 9/2011, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN).
    6. repec:eee:enepol:v:107:y:2017:i:c:p:472-479 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Schleich, Joachim & Gassmann, Xavier & Faure, Corinne & Meissner, Thomas, 2016. "Making the implicit explicit: A look inside the implicit discount rate," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 321-331.
    8. Mills, Bradford & Schleich, Joachim, 2014. "Household transitions to energy efficient lighting," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 151-160.
    9. Michelsen, Carl Christian & Madlener, Reinhard, 2012. "Homeowners' preferences for adopting innovative residential heating systems: A discrete choice analysis for Germany," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 1271-1283.
    10. Ford, Rebecca & Walton, Sara & Stephenson, Janet & Rees, David & Scott, Michelle & King, Geoff & Williams, John & Wooliscroft, Ben, 2017. "Emerging energy transitions: PV uptake beyond subsidies," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 138-150.
    11. Beckman, Jayson & Xiarchos, Irene M., 2013. "Why are Californian farmers adopting more (and larger) renewable energy operations?," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 322-330.
    12. 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.
    13. Yaqoot, Mohammed & Diwan, Parag & Kandpal, Tara C., 2016. "Review of barriers to the dissemination of decentralized renewable energy systems," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 477-490.
    14. 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.
    15. De Groote, Olivier & Pepermans, Guido & Verboven, Frank, 2016. "Heterogeneity in the adoption of photovoltaic systems in Flanders," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 45-57.
    16. Bai, Yin & Liu, Yong, 2013. "An exploration of residents’ low-carbon awareness and behavior in Tianjin, China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1261-1270.
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. repec:eee:rensus:v:75:y:2017:i:c:p:580-591 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Borchers, Allison M. & Xiarchos, Irene & Beckman, Jayson, 2014. "Determinants of wind and solar energy system adoption by U.S. farms: A multilevel modeling approach," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 106-115.


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