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Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1403; doi:10.3390/su9081403

Benchmarking the Performance of Solar Installers and Rooftop Photovoltaic Installations in California

1
Business School, China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing 100088, China
2
Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 1G5, Canada
Received: 20 June 2017 / Revised: 1 August 2017 / Accepted: 5 August 2017 / Published: 9 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Abstract

Rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems are rapidly proliferating around the world. Whether the PV systems have been efficiently installed is an issue of utmost importance for both solar installers and policymakers. However, the impact of solar installers on PV performance is not well understood. In this paper, we investigate the performance of rooftop PV installations and the solar installers using a dataset of 1035 projects developed by 213 installers in California. Based on data envelopment analysis (DEA), our study takes the PV system capacity, electricity generation, cost, modules, solar irradiance, and ambient temperature into account simultaneously to construct a unified measure for the efficiency of PV installations. We analyze the relationship between installer characteristics and PV system performance. We find PV installations with the installer also being the module manufacturer, exhibit significantly better performance than other installations. PV installations by subsidiaries of oil firms have inferior performance. PV installations by large installers on average do not perform better than the installations by small installers. Geographic diversification of an installer’s operations is significantly and inversely related to the performance of installations. We demonstrate the aforementioned findings have significant implications for policymakers and the solar installation industry. View Full-Text
Keywords: renewable energy; photovoltaic; rooftop solar; solar installer; DEA; efficiency renewable energy; photovoltaic; rooftop solar; solar installer; DEA; efficiency
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Wang, D. Benchmarking the Performance of Solar Installers and Rooftop Photovoltaic Installations in California. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1403.

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