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Understanding the role of visual appeal in consumer preference for residential solar panels

Qifang Bao, Tomonori Honda, Sami El Ferik, Mian Mobeen Shaukat and Maria C. Yang

Renewable Energy, 2017, vol. 113, issue C, 1569-1579

Abstract: Appearance is often key to the success of consumer-oriented products. This paper investigates the influence of visual appeal of renewable energy systems on consumer preference in a case study of residential solar panels. Two surveys of US residents were conducted with 194 and 350 responses, respectively. The first focused on aspects of solar panel appearance, including color, surface pattern and frame, while the second examined the tradeoffs between solar panel appearance, functional performance and price. Respondents were presented with two types of visual representations: solar panel images alone or solar panel images shown in the context of use. Results showed that respondents in general preferred black solar panels that had solar cells with rounded corners and even surfaces, and preferred solar panels that matched the color of the roof. It was also found that respondents were willing to pay a higher price for better-looking solar systems. This effect was found to be stronger with contextualized images of solar panels on roofs.

Keywords: Residential solar panels; Solar system adoption; Product appearance; User preference modeling (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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