It is increasingly clear that the major challenges to the growth in the use of sustainable technologies that are not technological but social and political.
Climate change is among the most pressing issues of our time. Although many technologies for mitigating climate change exist, they often fail to gain widespread use. It is increasingly clear that the major challenges to the growth in the use of sustainable technologies that are not technological but social and political.
This research highlights the importance of: social identities, social contexts, and social influence to advance a sociological explanation of the process and impediments to the diffusion of one promising technology—rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV).
The project links together and analyzes data from the records of rooftop PV projects completed under the Solar Photovoltaic Incentive Program in New York State between 2000 and 2019, property ownership data, the New York State voter registration file, and community level data from the U.S. Census. The project combines statistical analyses of these data with qualitative insights gleaned from previous fieldwork in New York communities. Whereas previous research on diffusion of innovation tends to assume that innovations reach broad-based legitimacy after passing a critical tipping point, the research in this project suggests that this may not be true for highly contested