A spatial examination of solar PV adopters in Northern Ireland: the role of housing market and socio-economic characteristics

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Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine whether PV uptake is associated with key housing market determinants and linked to socio-economic profiles. An abundance of extant literature has examined the role of solar photovoltaic (PV) adoption and user costs, with an emerging corpus of literature investigating the role of the determinants of PV uptake, particularly in relation to the built environment and the spatial variation of PV dependency and dissimilarity. Despite this burgeoning literature, there remains limited insights from the UK perspective on housing market characteristics driving PV adoption and in relation spatial differences and heterogeneity that may exist. Design/methodology/approach: Applying micro-based data at the Super Output Area-level geography, this study develops a series of ordinary least squares, spatial econometric models and a logistic regression analysis to examine built environment, housing tenure and deprivation attributes on PV adoption at the regional level in Northern Ireland, UK. Findings: The findings emerging from the research reveal the presence of some spatial clustering and PV diffusion, in line with several existing studies. The findings demonstrate that an urban-rural dichotomy exists seemingly driven by social interaction and peer effects which has a profound impact on the likelihood of PV adoption. Further, the results exhibit tenure composition and “economic status” to be significant and important determinants of PV diffusion and uptake. Originality/value: Housing market characteristics such as tenure composition across local market structures remain under-researched in relation to renewable energy uptake and adoption. This study examines the role of housing market attributes relative to socio-economic standing for adopting renewable energy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Financial Management of Property and Construction
Early online date24 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished online - 24 Nov 2022

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© 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited.


  • Energy policy
  • Housing markets
  • Renewable energy
  • Socio-economic standing
  • Solar PV installations
  • Tenure


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