Sun and lemons : getting over information asymmetries in the California Solar Market
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- Discussion papers (FOR) 
Using detailed data of approximately 125,000 solar photovoltaic systems installed in California between 2007 and 2014 I argue that the adoption of solar panels from Chinese manufacturers and the in- troduction of a leasing model for solar systems are closely intertwined. First, cheaper Chinese panels allowed a leasing model to be profitable for contractors. But an asymmetric information problem exists in the market for solar panels. Solar panels are long-lived productive as- sets, where quality is important but costly for individual consumers to verify. Consumers can instead be expected to rely on brands and observed reliability. This led to a barrier to entry for cheaper pan- els from new, primarily Chinese manufacturers. The adoption of a leasing model by several large local installers solved the asymmetric information problem and led to the adoption of Chinese panels and in turn lower overall system prices.