Opinion Leadership in the Diffusion of Photovoltaic Systems

  • Yoshihiro Yamamoto


According to diffusion theory, opinion leaders—through interpersonal communication with potential adopters—play an important role in the diffusion of new technologies. The purpose of this chapter is to examine whether this is the case for a solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation system and to investigate the role and utility of opinion leadership in the diffusion of PV systems. Specifically, the study proposes, examines, and considers the implications of the hypothesis that there is a positive relationship between willingness to pay (WTP) for a PV system and opinion leadership on the adoption of PV systems in the residential sector. The study employed an internet-based questionnaire survey to assess the use of interpersonal communication in decision-making on adoption, to identify opinion leaders with respect to adoption and to characterize their WTP. The response pool consisted of 488 individuals who lived in detached houses in Japan, owned a residential PV system and were responsible for making the decision to adopt their PV system. The results support the hypothesis stated above. Considering that subsidization preferentially incentivizes households with greater WTP to adopt PV systems, the results suggest that subsidization is more effective than purchases of PV electricity under a feed-in tariff system in promoting the diffusion of PV systems in the residential sector through interpersonal communication.


Residential photovoltaic system Diffusion Opinion leadership Willingness to pay Questionnaire survey 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Takasaki City University of EconomicsTakasakiJapan

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