Tax credits, referral programs and even tapping into a potential customer's environmental values can help solar companies sell rooftop panels. But peer pressure might be more powerful.
An infographic put together by One Grid Off the Block illustrates how peer pressure can influence any number of behaviors, including energy use and general "eco-friendliness." Peer pressure -- or that desire to keep up with the Joneses -- is particularly influential when it comes to solar.
The probability of someone going solar more than doubles if they live on a block where a neighbor has solar power already, according to data compiled by OBOG. And for every 1 percent increase in solar installations in a zip code, there's a 1 percent decrease in the amount of time until the next solar installation.
In other words, solar is contagious. Once a homeowner installs rooftop solar, the odds go up that more neighbors will follow. Some solar companies are already keen to the power of peer pressure. Sungevity's "Sunshine Network" program, which helps turn customers into its own elite fleet of salespeople, is one example. Earlier this year, Sungevity hired Patrick Crane, former marketing chief at LinkedIn, to help the company expand beyond a few Western states by spreading and investing in its social networks.
Crane told me in an interview last March the company has already discovered if a family member approaches you, you are four or five times more likely to become a customer than if a Sungevity representative approaches you. Crane's mission is to take that basic premise and expand the network using social media tools, not just financial incentives.
Home Solar Power Discounts - One Block Off the Grid
Photo: Flickr user CoCreatr