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An innovation management approach for renewable energy deployment--the case of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology


  • Shum, Kwok L.
  • Watanabe, Chihiro


In the discussion of renewable energy deployment, one key concern is the various types of barriers that renewable energy needs to overcome before it can make its way into the mainstream. These barriers increasingly shift from the technical to the economic and institutional. The most general types of barriers are due to technological 'lock-out' or to carbon 'lock-in' [Unruh, G., 2000. Understanding carbon lock-in. Energy Policy 28(12), 817-830 (Elsevier)]. These barriers necessitate the development of a strategic approach to deploy or introduce renewable energy technology. Existing energy policy has mostly relied upon financial subsidies, market-based instruments such as renewable portfolio standards, and production tax credits to stimulate the installation and use of equipment to generate electricity from renewable sources. These strategies target mostly system-level decisions of end users. The purpose of this paper is to present an innovation perspective on the renewable energy deployment process by introducing the innovation value-added chain (IVC) framework. The analytical objective of IVC is to evaluate the impact of a new innovation on the various stakeholders and players in the development and deployment processes. A deployment or innovation strategy that causes minimal disruption, enhances existing competencies, or expedites new learning by the players has a higher chance to succeed. We draw upon two sets of system integration costs data for grid-connected distributed photovoltaic (PV) systems in Japan and the United States and demonstrate conspicuously different dynamic learning behaviors. These two deployment models can be understood in terms of how the IVCs are organized and how PV system integration projects are performed in the field. In addition, IVC-based findings can inform the targeted application of conventional financial subsidies for learning investment not only at the PV system level, but also at the (localized) system integration level. This would involve other stakeholders, thus suggesting new energy policy space. We highlight some future research directions using the IVC framework.

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  • Shum, Kwok L. & Watanabe, Chihiro, 2009. "An innovation management approach for renewable energy deployment--the case of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 3535-3544, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:37:y:2009:i:9:p:3535-3544

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Neij, Lena & Heiskanen, Eva & Strupeit, Lars, 2017. "The deployment of new energy technologies and the need for local learning," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 274-283.
    2. Annunziata, Eleonora & Frey, Marco & Rizzi, Francesco, 2013. "Towards nearly zero-energy buildings: The state-of-art of national regulations in Europe," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 125-133.
    3. Tang, Yong & Sun, Honghang & Yao, Qiang & Wang, Yibo, 2014. "The selection of key technologies by the silicon photovoltaic industry based on the Delphi method and AHP (analytic hierarchy process): Case study of China," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 474-482.
    4. Jin, Wei & Zhang, ZhongXiang, 2015. "Levelling the playing field: On the missing role of network externality in designing renewable energy technology deployment policies," Working Papers 249514, Australian National University, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy.
    5. Cheng, Yung-Lung & Wee, Hui-Ming & Chen, Ping-Shun & Kuo, Yu-Yu & Chen, Guang-Jin, 2014. "Innovative reservoir sediments reuse and design for sustainability of the hydroelectric power plants," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 212-219.
    6. Linnerud, Kristin & Holden, Erling, 2015. "Investment barriers under a renewable-electricity support scheme: Differences across investor types," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 699-709.
    7. Chowdhury, Sanjeeda & Sumita, Ushio & Islam, Ashraful & Bedja, Idriss, 2014. "Importance of policy for energy system transformation: Diffusion of PV technology in Japan and Germany," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 285-293.
    8. Lee, Amy H.I. & Chen, Hsing Hung & Kang, He-Yau, 2011. "A model to analyze strategic products for photovoltaic silicon thin-film solar cell power industry," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 1271-1283, February.
    9. Kostevšek, Anja & Cizelj, Leon & Petek, Janez & Pivec, Aleksandra, 2013. "A novel concept for a renewable network within municipal energy systems," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 79-87.
    10. Jagoda, Kalinga & Lonseth, Robert & Lonseth, Adam & Jackman, Tom, 2011. "Development and commercialization of renewable energy technologies in Canada: An innovation system perspective," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 1266-1271.
    11. Mathews, John A. & Baroni, Paolo, 2013. "The industrial logistic surface: Displaying the impact of energy policy on uptake of new technologies," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 733-740.
    12. de Freitas, Luciano Charlita & Kaneko, Shinji, 2012. "Is there a causal relation between ethanol innovation and the market characteristics of fuels in Brazil?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 161-168.
    13. Shum, Kwok L., 2017. "Renewable energy deployment policy: A transition management perspective," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 1380-1388.
    14. Kang, Moon Jung & Hwang, Jongwoon, 2016. "Structural dynamics of innovation networks funded by the European Union in the context of systemic innovation of the renewable energy sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 471-490.
    15. Huo, Mo-lin & Zhang, Dan-wei, 2012. "Lessons from photovoltaic policies in China for future development," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 38-45.


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