Overcoming barriers to renewable energy diffusion: business models for customer-sited solar photovoltaics in Japan, Germany and the United States
Journal article, 2016
Transformative change of energy systems towards distributed renewable technologies requires not only technological but also organisational innovation in order to engage broad segments of the private consumer market. Using the business model concept as an analytical tool, this comparative study investigates organisational configurations related to the deployment of customer-sited photovoltaic (PV) systems in Germany, Japan and the United States. Results show how the deployment of customer-sited PV systems in these three countries has been enabled and catalysed through distinctively different business models. Specifically, solar firms have managed to overcome various barriers to the adoption of PV in distinct ways. Furthermore, we identify a number of contextual conditions that have shaped the design and mode of operation of the respective business models in the three countries. The study provides novel insights for both policy makers and solar firms that wish to develop alternative governance models and new business strategies, respectively. Such insights are important to support the accelerated diffusion of distributed PV systems.