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Scaling up solar photovoltaic use : A system-oriented assessment of experiences gained in deployment

Strupeit, Lars LU (2017)
Abstract
The transition towards low-carbon energy systems undeniably requires a strong scale-up in the diffusion of renewable energy technologies globally. Given its theoretical and techno-economic potential, solar photovoltaics (PV) is considered an important option. The envisioned scale-up of the use of solar PV, however, requires an in-depth and system-oriented perspective on structures and processes related to deployment. Particularly, as deployment-related aspects critically determine the competitiveness of PV, they need to be more comprehensively understood in order to be purposefully managed through policy and business decisions.
Using an interdisciplinary, multi-level and system-oriented research approach, the analytical framework of... (More)
The transition towards low-carbon energy systems undeniably requires a strong scale-up in the diffusion of renewable energy technologies globally. Given its theoretical and techno-economic potential, solar photovoltaics (PV) is considered an important option. The envisioned scale-up of the use of solar PV, however, requires an in-depth and system-oriented perspective on structures and processes related to deployment. Particularly, as deployment-related aspects critically determine the competitiveness of PV, they need to be more comprehensively understood in order to be purposefully managed through policy and business decisions.
Using an interdisciplinary, multi-level and system-oriented research approach, the analytical framework of this thesis draws on concepts from innovation system theory, network theory, business model theory, and the experience curve approach. Based on empirical examinations of the deployment experience in pioneering countries of distributed PV (primarily Germany, as well as the United States and Japan and, to some degree, other EU and OECD countries), the thesis aims to advance knowledge by providing a system-oriented perspective on deployment-related structures and processes.
Results show that PV deployment relies on the collaborative actions of and interactions between a multitude of actors, including solar firms, utilities, banks, governments, users, and non-profit initiatives. Furthermore, results show the creation, accumulation and transfer of a comprehensive knowledge base related to deployment, both from domestic and international viewpoints. This deployment knowledge involves multiple dimensions (technical, financial, legal-regulatory, quality assurance, marketing, etc.). Processes of local learning are found to be critical for the effective integration of PV technology into the physical, organizational and institutional infrastructures of distinct geographies. In fact, findings reveal that structures, processes and strategies related to PV deployment depend significantly on geographic, institutional and cultural context. Furthermore, results help in understanding the decline of soft deployment costs as a result of the accumulation of local experience in deployment. Generally, soft deployment costs include labour costs, permit and insurance fees, as well as a variety of transaction costs associated with business transactions and compliance with different legal-administrative requirements. The findings also portray how dedicated business strategies of solar firms can address barriers to the adoption of PV by private users.
The research outcomes exhibit several implications for the design of PV deployment policies. They highlight in particular the need for a holistic understanding of deployment systems as a knowledge foundation for more integrated policy approaches. Policies may be directed at demand creation, network formation, knowledge and awareness, streamlining of legal-administrative regulations, and a variety of other measures that contribute to the formation and further development of well-functioning local PV markets. The stronger inclusion of deployment-related aspects, as assessed in this thesis, into future policy assessment frameworks could support decision-making towards more integrated PV deployment policies.
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author
supervisor
opponent
  • Professor K√•berger, Tomas, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
photovoltaic, deployment, soft costs, barriers, experience curve, innovation system, business model, network analysis, knowledge
pages
218 pages
publisher
IIIEE, Lund University
defense location
Aula, The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics (IIIEE), Tegnérsplatsen 4, Lund.
defense date
2017-11-06 13:00
ISBN
978-91-87357-30-5
978-91-87357-31-2
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
74bc324c-6fc9-4adb-add8-04676ccb7621
date added to LUP
2017-10-06 11:49:46
date last changed
2017-10-09 15:07:47
@phdthesis{74bc324c-6fc9-4adb-add8-04676ccb7621,
  abstract     = {The transition towards low-carbon energy systems undeniably requires a strong scale-up in the diffusion of renewable energy technologies globally. Given its theoretical and techno-economic potential, solar photovoltaics (PV) is considered an important option. The envisioned scale-up of the use of solar PV, however, requires an in-depth and system-oriented perspective on structures and processes related to deployment. Particularly, as deployment-related aspects critically determine the competitiveness of PV, they need to be more comprehensively understood in order to be purposefully managed through policy and business decisions.<br/>Using an interdisciplinary, multi-level and system-oriented research approach, the analytical framework of this thesis draws on concepts from innovation system theory, network theory, business model theory, and the experience curve approach. Based on empirical examinations of the deployment experience in pioneering countries of distributed PV (primarily Germany, as well as the United States and Japan and, to some degree, other EU and OECD countries), the thesis aims to advance knowledge by providing a system-oriented perspective on deployment-related structures and processes.<br/>Results show that PV deployment relies on the collaborative actions of and interactions between a multitude of actors, including solar firms, utilities, banks, governments, users, and non-profit initiatives. Furthermore, results show the creation, accumulation and transfer of a comprehensive knowledge base related to deployment, both from domestic and international viewpoints. This deployment knowledge involves multiple dimensions (technical, financial, legal-regulatory, quality assurance, marketing, etc.). Processes of local learning are found to be critical for the effective integration of PV technology into the physical, organizational and institutional infrastructures of distinct geographies. In fact, findings reveal that structures, processes and strategies related to PV deployment depend significantly on geographic, institutional and cultural context. Furthermore, results help in understanding the decline of soft deployment costs as a result of the accumulation of local experience in deployment. Generally, soft deployment costs include labour costs, permit and insurance fees, as well as a variety of transaction costs associated with business transactions and compliance with different legal-administrative requirements. The findings also portray how dedicated business strategies of solar firms can address barriers to the adoption of PV by private users.<br/>The research outcomes exhibit several implications for the design of PV deployment policies. They highlight in particular the need for a holistic understanding of deployment systems as a knowledge foundation for more integrated policy approaches. Policies may be directed at demand creation, network formation, knowledge and awareness, streamlining of legal-administrative regulations, and a variety of other measures that contribute to the formation and further development of well-functioning local PV markets. The stronger inclusion of deployment-related aspects, as assessed in this thesis, into future policy assessment frameworks could support decision-making towards more integrated PV deployment policies.<br/>},
  author       = {Strupeit, Lars},
  isbn         = {978-91-87357-30-5 },
  keyword      = {photovoltaic, deployment, soft costs, barriers, experience curve, innovation system, business model, network analysis, knowledge},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {10},
  pages        = {218},
  publisher    = {IIIEE, Lund University},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Scaling up solar photovoltaic use : A system-oriented assessment of experiences gained in deployment},
  year         = {2017},
}