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The adoption of domestic solar-power systems: Do consumers assess product attributes in a stepwise process?

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Energy Policy, Volume 35, Number 6, p.3418-3423 (2007)



The adoption of an innovation is partly dependent on the consumersí perception of the product attributes, starting with the ërelative advantageí a product may have over another existing product, and also include issues of compatibility, complexity, observability and trialability. Using diffusion of innovations theory as a conceptual framework, this paper describes a case study that investigated the innovation adoption process that a group of identified potential adopters of domestic solar thermal systems stated they would follow. Data was generated from the results of a postal survey to a group of 43 defined innovators and a group of 350 assumed ëearly majorityí, pragmatic consumers. The survey results showed that while the pragmatic customers did follow the process as theorised in diffusion theory, the innovators disregarded the observability attributes of the innovation and went ahead with implementation without having seen the products beforehand. The group of innovators was also split in their opinion that ëcomplexityí may be a limiting factor. There were differences in the pragmatic group between certain demographic sub groups. Conclusions are drawn on how the findings may impact marketing activities.