The primary goal of this project is to deepen our understanding of the key social and economic aspects of solar adoption, as well as any potential benefit in low and moderate-income (LMI) households. We are seeking to accomplish these goals by employing a variety of methods:
- Identifying and assessing significant non-economic barriers that complicate the ability of LMI households to adopt and benefit from solar, even under scenarios with low economic barriers;
- Assessing the differential ability of groups to benefit from solar adoption based on their ability to invest in different solar innovations;
- Explaining why some LMI communities nonetheless experience significantly higher rates of solar adoption and benefit than others;
- Developing a methodological model for generating data addressing key issues to the project;
- Designing and developing an interactive web portal that aggregates existing datasets, provides researchers trend analysis capabilities, standardizes project protocols for other states and communities, provides the opportunities for researchers using the same protocol in other communities to upload their results, and engages with the general public by providing them the ability to upload their own perspectives and stories of solar technology adoption.
INNOVATIVE APPROACHES FOR THE STATE OF GEORGIA AND BEYOND
In our endeavor to understand why everyday Americans do or do not adopt solar technologies for their homes, we will be looking to capture and learn from the stories and perspectives of people who live across the state of Georgia. Specifically, we are working with the Georgia Cooperative Extension to interview at least 15 individuals across each of 115 counties within the state of Georgia. We want to better understand the perceptions people have regarding the complex factors that go into such decisions—especially in LMI communities.
Moreover, we are also working to build an online tool (available in 2018 on this very website) that will allow energy industry professionals, policymakers, researchers, and interested citizens the opportunity to use these stories and contribute their own. In 2019, we will also be hosting a workshop for policymakers, energy industry stakeholders, and the general public to share the results of this data collection and to see what potential impacts exist for enhancing policy and business decisions alike regarding solar technology adoption in Georgia.