Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability logo

We've got a new name! Read the announcement. (A new website is under development.)

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Quantifying the Rebound Effects of Residential Solar Panel Adoption

Date and Time
Friday, December 7, 2018 - 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Field Auditorium, Grainger Hall (formerly Environment Hall), 9 Circuit Drive, Durham, North Carolina


Back to top

Yueming (Lucy) Qiu, assistant professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland College Park, will present "Quantifying the Rebound Effects of Residential Solar Panel Adoption" on Friday, December 7.

Consumers who adopt solar panels can reduce their energy bills and thus lower the effective average electricity prices they pay. When the price falls, a solar consumer might consume more electricity than before – a solar rebound effect. We provide the first empirical evidence of solar panel rebound effects in residential electricity consumption in the U.S.. We use household level hourly and daily electricity meter data as well as hourly solar panel electricity generation data from 277 solar homes and about 4000 non-solar homes from 2013-2017 in the Phoenix metropolitan area of Arizona. We rely on matching method and fixed effects panel regression to control for potential endogeneity issues of solar adoption. Results show that on average, when solar electricity generation increases by 1kWh, solar homes increase their total electricity consumption by 0.18kWh. We show both theoretically and empirically that this response to solar electricity generation should be equal to price elasticity of electricity consumption. At the average values of pre-solar electricity consumption and solar generation, rebound effects are estimated at 13% - 14%. We also find that consumers located in more liberal neighborhoods experience lower rebound effects, suggesting that environmental awareness plays a role. Building upon our theoretical framework, we estimate that the increase in consumer surplus from solar panel adoption is on average $1179/yr.

This talk is part of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the University Program in Environmental Policy seminar series featuring leading experts discussing a variety of pressing environmentally focused topics. This talk is also sponsored by the Nicholas School of the Environment and the Sanford School for Public Policy.