“The role of place attachment and environmental attitudes in adoption of rooftop solar”, an article co-authored with Charles Corbett, Hal Hershfield, Henry Kim, Tim Malloy and Alison Partie, has been published by Energy Policy as part of their March 2022 issue. Link here (free access, including downloadable PDF, should be available through the end of February at a minimum).
Prior research on adoption of rooftop solar has investigated various economic and psychological factors contributing to or impeding adoption. One psychological factor that has been linked to environmental behavior in other settings, but not yet in the context of rooftop solar, is place attachment, an individual’s sense of attachment to their community. Using a survey of over 3700 homeowners in Los Angeles County, we examine the impact of place attachment, relative to that of pro-environmental attitudes, on the decision whether to consider rooftop solar and on the decision whether to adopt it. We find that an otherwise average homeowner with pro-environmental attitudes one unit above the mean is 5.66 percentage points more likely to consider rooftop solar, while the effect of place attachment on consideration is not significant. However, among respondents who consider rooftop solar, an otherwise average homeowner with one unit stronger place attachment is 7.59 percentage points more likely to adopt, while the effect of pro-environmental attitudes on adoption is not significant. Policymakers seeking to encourage adoption of rooftop solar should contemplate leveraging place attachment, and should recognize that different policy mechanisms will be effective for homeowners in general than for those who are already considering.