It's Electric: Factors Affecting PV and EV Adoption

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Wee, Sherilyn
Solar Photovoltaic; Electric Vehicles
thesis / dissertation description
This dissertation focuses on the potential role of consumers in mitigating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the two largest emitting sectors in the U.S.—electricity and transportation. In the electric sector, rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) offers the opportunity for consumers to generate their own electricity and export any excess to the grid. In the transportation sector, alternative fueled vehicles, such as those powered by electricity, can substantially reduce GHG emissions if fueled by renewable sources. Electric vehicles (EVs) also have the ability to ease the integration of growing levels of intermittent sources of renewable energy by acting as an energy storage device. Understanding the factors affecting adoption of pro-environmental technologies is crucial to achieving widespread deployment and reducing GHG emissions. The first chapter explores whether there is a premium attached to homes that have PV. Using a hedonic pricing model and home resale and PV building permit data from 2000-2013 for Oahu, I find that the presence of PV on a home adds on average 5% to the value of a home. Since many of the circuits in Hawaii have reached legal limits for PV installations, homebuyers have an expectation that future installations will be limited. Therefore, the value of the system goes beyond its capital investments to incorporate expected electricity savings. The second chapter estimates the effectiveness of policy incentives for EVs, financial and otherwise, using a within model difference-in-difference approach and rich dataset of semi-annual state-level vehicle registrations by model from 2010-2015. The results suggest that consumers respond to vehicle purchase incentives, and therefore policies that reduce the upfront purchase price of vehicles may be an effective mechanism to achieve widespread deployment of EVs. The third chapter examines the role of geographic peer effects in the adoption of EVs using zip code-level vehicle registration data for Hawaii and by exploiting the different lag structure of Nissan and other EVs. The results provide evidence for the presence of geographic peer effects, suggesting that the peer effects multiplier could be relied on to help jumpstart policy and should be factored into future policy design.