Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies (SEEDS)

Solar photovoltaic panels are an increasingly competitive player in the energy market as the technology improves and the prices drop. The challenge of widespread diffusion is now behavioral as much as economic. Through large-scale experimentation, SEEDS is testing which strategies and messages are most conducive to solar adoption.


What motivates people to install rooftop solar panels? Which incentives or policies can rapidly boost the adoption of this technology? Which programs are persistently effective, and which are most easily scaled? The answers to these questions are essential for promoting a sustainable energy future.

Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative, a multidisciplinary set of partners came together to test these questions by examining the uptake of solar through the Solarize CT program. Out of this collaboration, we have produced a guidebook for community and business leaders, active citizens and policymakers detailing the most effective strategies for accelerating the adoption of residential solar.

The Guide Book











"Solarize Your Community: An Evidence-Based Guide for Accelerating the Adoption of Residential Solar" 

  • Digital version click HERE
  • Printable version click HERE
  • Printable step-by-step timeline click HERE

Help us spread the word!  Social media toolkit including sample posts can be found here.

About the Partnership

The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Duke University, in collaboration with the CT Green Bank and SmartPower, conducted a series of rigorous controlled field trials to better understand the adoption of residential solar.

The Yale Center for Business and the Environment coordi­nated the partnership and worked with a team of students to facilitate the research, assist with the data analysis and create this guidebook.

The Connecticut Green Bank, a state-level institution devoted to expanding the region’s clean energy sources, accelerated consumer financing options by developing risk-reduction mech­anisms in partnership with local lending and capital partners.

SmartPower, a social marketing firm, provided insight and support for Solarize CT, creating high impact on-the-ground community campaigns.

About the SunShot Initiative

The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a national effort to drive down the cost of solar electricity and support solar adoption. SunShot aims to make solar energy a low cost electricity source for all Americans through research and development efforts in collaboration with public and private partners. Learn more at



In the News

Yale News: "National guidebook maps the way toward ‘tipping points’ in solar adoption" - April 2017

Washington Times: "Solar Panels Power Up in Connecticut" - May 2015

KLIV San Jose with Barry Cinnamon: “What Influences People to Install Solar?” - Nov 16, 2014

PrettyVisible Blog: “Solar is Contagious” - Nov 12, 2014 “How Solar Power Spreads Among Neighbors ‘Like a Contagion’” - Nov 3, 2014 “Solar Power Growth in U.S. Neighbourhoods Could be Contagious (Study)” - Oct 25, 2014 "Solar power is contagious: Installing panels often means your neighbors will too" - Oct 24, 2014

Washington Post: "Why do people put solar on their roofs? Because other people put solar on their roofs" - Oct 23, 2014

Washington Square News: “Stern, Yale Professors Team Up To Research Solar Energy” - Oct 1, 2013

New Haven Register: “Yale Receives $1.9 million Solar Grant” - Jan 30, 2013

Academic publications

Bollinger, Gillingham, Tsvetanov (2016) The Effect of Group Pricing and Deal Duration on Word-of-Mouth and Durable Good Adoption: The Case of Solarize CT 

Graziano and Gillingham (2015) Spatial patterns of solar photovoltaic system adoption: The influence of neighbors and the built environment

Bollinger and Gillingham (2012) Peer Effects in the Diffusion of Solar Photovoltaic Panels


Working papers:

Tsvetanov and Gillingham​ Hurdles and Steps: Estimating Demand for Solar Photovoltaics 


Project of Distinction Winner at PV America!  

On March 9, 2015 Solarize Connecticut and the SEEDS Research project was awarded the highly coveted “Project of Distinction Award” by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) at PV America in Boston. View the Press Release here.


Getting to 16 Megawatts

The Science of Acceleration: Reflections on Solar Marketing

The Ambassadors of Avon

Solar Jobs - Boom and Bust or Here to Stay?

What's the True Value of Residential Solar?

Open Postdoctoral Position

Applications are invited for a post-doctoral scholar position focused on applying behavioral economics to the adoption of solar energy. The post-doctoral scholar will work with Professor Kenneth Gillingham, professors at Duke University, and a team the Yale Center for Business & the Environment to help support a project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy to perform a series of randomized controlled trials to better understand the adoption of solar energy and the value of targeting the location of solar energy. The ideal candidate has a Ph.D. in economics or a related field, with a focus in environmental or behavioral economics. The position provides some support for independent research, such as publishing dissertation chapters. The post-doctoral scholar will be based at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and will be encouraged to participate in the broader Yale intellectual community.

This posting is for a one-year appointment with the expectation of renewal for a second year upon satisfactory performance. The starting date can be as soon as spring 2018 and is expected to be no later than fall 2018. Application review is rolling and will continue until the position is filled. Application materials must be in PDF format and include a cover letter, CV, transcript, and three letters of reference. Please have all applications materials and three letters of reference e-mailed directly to

Yale is an equal opportunity employer. Women, minorities, and veterans are encouraged to apply.

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