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Solar Adoption, Local Initiatives, Exchanges among Neighbors, and Conspicuous Environmentalism (SALIENCE)
Last registered on June 17, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Solar Adoption, Local Initiatives, Exchanges among Neighbors, and Conspicuous Environmentalism (SALIENCE)
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003362
Initial registration date
September 28, 2018
Last updated
June 17, 2019 3:03 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Georgia State University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
MIT
PI Affiliation
Yale University
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2018-09-28
End date
2020-06-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The market for residential solar panels in the United States is growing rapidly. Yet, there are concerns that its expansion is not benefiting some population groups, especially people from lower-income households and people living in multifamily homes. As a result, new business models are emerging, reaching out to these groups. One of them is peer-to-peer solar. People who cannot have or afford a solar panel can purchase electricity from another household, through a peer-to-peer market. This study examines the effect of information campaigns promoting the adoption of solar panels through peer-to-peer solar. These campaigns would inform potential customers about the social aspects of joining the platform. Our campaigns are launched concurrently to citywide initiatives raising attention to solar energy. Potential customers are thus encouraged to go solar along with their fellow town residents. Our campaigns also stress that social rewards could be obtained by behaving in a green way, as the peer-to-peer platform allows sharing information on green behavior to online social networks. Specifically, we randomize potential customers in Massachusetts into those receiving a behavioral intervention focused on the community aspect of going solar as a city versus the social rewards of going green in a visible way (and a combination of the two). Hence, we complement a recent literature examining whether people are interested in sharing their greenness and whether they are more likely to undertake a given green behavior if that allows them to obtain social rewards for it.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Carattini, Stefano, Kenneth Gillingham and Erez Yoeli. 2019. "Solar Adoption, Local Initiatives, Exchanges among Neighbors, and Conspicuous Environmentalism (SALIENCE) ." AEA RCT Registry. June 17. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3362-2.0.
Former Citation
Carattini, Stefano et al. 2019. "Solar Adoption, Local Initiatives, Exchanges among Neighbors, and Conspicuous Environmentalism (SALIENCE) ." AEA RCT Registry. June 17. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3362/history/48224.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2018-09-28
Intervention End Date
2020-06-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Clicks on the advertisements; new users joining MySunBuddy’s website and peer-to-peer solar platform.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Potential customers are informed about MySunBuddy’s service through the advertisement campaign. The sample size may decrease as we move from one primary outcome to the other, and as we move from primary to secondary outcomes.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
In a later extension (with IRB approval), potential secondary outcomes such as the following could be considered: fraction of reports shared online; effect of the reports shared online on new potential adopters; purchase of electricity through MySunBuddy’s platform; electricity sold through MySunBuddy’s platform by people who already own solar installations; leads; new solar installations; electricity sold through MySunBuddy’s platform by people who purchase solar installations.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
MySunBuddy is a marketplace, where buyers and sellers of solar electricity meet. All households in the participating cities can join MySunBuddy and become buyers. Sellers need to have a solar installation on their rooftop, whose electricity may be shared with others. The interventions may lead to new solar installations.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Potential buyers and sellers will be approached through online advertisement. Potential buyers and sellers will be divided into four groups. Each group will receive a unique treatment, the result of a 2x2 treatment design.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization as given by the A/B testing feature in Facebook Ads Manager.
Randomization Unit
Potential customer.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Geographical clustering. Cities and neighborhoods within cities as per Massachusetts administrative records.
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,000 clicks, to depend on how successful the ads are.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
250 based on clicks.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Yale University Institutional Review Board, Human Investigation Committee
IRB Approval Date
2018-04-30
IRB Approval Number
2000023240