Questioning the Sun: Unexpected emissions implications from residential solar photovoltaic systems

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Reaching carbon neutrality would require the retirement of conventional power sources and substitution with renewable energy sources. Given that immediate substitution from conventional to renewable power sources is not feasible in the status quo, we investigate whether adding residential solar photovoltaic (PV) technology in addition to conventional power sources would reduce residential emissions. We use a large survey dataset of more than 300,000 observations and employ a structural equation model (SEM) to validate our findings. Interestingly, emissions increase by 1.75% if residential PV is adopted, and Japanese citizens with residential PV systems end up using 3.02% more electricity. We also find that pro-environmental consumers may also produce more emissions with PVs. As a result, reaching target carbon reductions in the residential sector would necessitate eliminating conventional energy sources. We address the policy implications for pathways to reduce residential emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105924
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Economics and Econometrics


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