The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded the University of Maryland School of Public Policy (SPP) $300,000 and Syracuse University $200,000 to study changes in electricity and technology use in consumers who adopt solar panels (PVs), battery storage and electric vehicles (EVs). The study will help policymakers develop targeted interventions to encourage consumers to co-adopt these energy-saving technologies.
At SPP, Associate Professor Lucy Qiu will serve as principal investigator, with Center for Global Sustainability Director Nate Hultman and Professor Anand Patwardhan working as co-principal investigators. The team will use advanced data analytics, econometrics, machine learning and simulation methods to uncover the behavioral heterogeneity and categorize each individual consumers’ behavior changes into rational, irrational, misinformed or environmental-driven categories.
The study aims to address major gaps in existing literature surrounding the tendency for consumers to adopt these technologies. Models developed to address this question tend to be engineering-based, meaning that they do not account for actual consumer behavior and leaving deviations from the models unexplained. It also considers how co-adoption of multiple technologies influences behavior, rather than the adoption of one technology.
This research would be influential to policymakers aiming to encourage climate-friendly technology adoption.
“Understanding the heterogeneous co-adopter behaviors is important for utilities and policymakers to adopt better-targeted interventions to induce behavioral changes needed for demand-side management,” explains Qiu. “Our results will also help to facilitate the adoption of PVs, EVs and battery storage technologies, and to transform relevant engineering modeling by combining engineering with empirical behavioral analysis."