News Release

Effective communication boosts sales of solar systems

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

A new study shows how targeted advertising messages can increase demand for solar systems.

The promotion of green technologies such as solar panels is essential to foster the use of clean energy. However, the high upfront costs often discourage private households from installing these systems. A recent study by LMU researchers, in collaboration with the University of Cologne and the Rotterdam School of Management published in the journal Nature Communications, found that focusing on the financial benefits of solar panels in communication strategies could improve this situation.

In a large-scale field experiment with around 27,000 customers of a Dutch online retailer, the team analyzed how different advertising messages on the retailer’s website influenced the demand for solar panels. In the advertisements, the researchers emphasized either financial benefits such as additional savings and income or else positive environmental effects, such as the reduction of CO2 emissions or the generation of green energy.

The results were clear: “The advertising messages had a significant influence on the behavior of customers,” says Dominik Bär, doctoral candidate at LMU’s Institute of Artificial Intelligence in Management and lead author of the study. “Without doubt, highlighting potential personal savings proves to be much more effective than emphasizing environmental benefits.” In particular, messages that stressed the potential financial savings prompted an increase in customer queries of 40 percent compared to the baseline and generated 30 percent more queries than messages that emphasized additional income or environmental benefits. According to the authors, this demonstrates that effective communication is a cost-effective and scalable method for promoting green technologies.

“Effective communication can significantly increase the commitment to invest in green technologies. This is an important insight for combating climate change and achieving climate goals,” says Professor Stefan Feuerriegel, Head of the Institute of Artificial Intelligence in Management.


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