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.
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