A few years ago, while working as a volunteer for Solarize Massachusetts, a state government initiative to promote clean energy, Carl Elkin spent some time trying to educate his neighbors in the Boston area about the benefits of residential solar installation. Again and again, he heard homeowners express the same concerns. “Almost everyone,” he says, “believed that solar power was more expensive than utility power”—despite evidence to the contrary. Homeowners also had site-specific worries, he r…

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