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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.

Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Studies (SEEDS)

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

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


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.

Seeds Blog Posts

Getting to 16 Megawatts

On a recent Friday I stood in a second floor conference room behind a glass wall, watching seven individuals manage the flow of electricity across ...

The Ambassadors of Avon

On a night when most of Connecticut fretted about the bleak, snowy forecast, 15 residents of Avon considered a bright, sunny future. They were gathered ...

Solar Jobs: Boom-and-Bust or Here to Stay?

Presidential election season has once again taken America by storm, and with it comes the incessant quadrennial refrain from candidates about creating jobs. Politicians in ...

What’s the true value of residential solar power?

If you’ve ever considered installing solar panels on your roof, you’ve probably asked two basic questions: How much does it cost? And how long before ...


Connecticut Residential Solar Uptake 2005-2017

Connecticut Residential Solar Uptake 2005-2017

This video uses data from the Solar Energy Evolution and Diffusion Study (SEEDS) to demonstrate the solar growth in Connecticut from 2005 - 2017. Video produced by Sydney Hanson.

People & Partners

Kenneth Gillingham

Associate Professor of Environmental & Energy Economics at Yale School of the Environment

Bryan Bollinger

Assistant Professor of Marketing at Duke University: The Fuqua School of Business

Stuart DeCew

Executive Director at Yale Center for Business and the Environment
MBA 2011
Master of Environmental Management 2011

Bryan Garcia

President and CEO at Connecticut Green Bank
Master of Environmental Management 2000

Brian F. Keane

President at SmartPower
Chief Executive Officer at WeeGreen

Heather Fitzgerald

Associate Director at Yale Center for Business and the Environment

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