Accelerating the diffusion of PV in the province of Utrecht
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Our global economy is highly dependent on fossil fuels. Both on an international and national level governments are putting policy into place to limit this dependency. The province of Utrecht formulated its goal to be climate neutral in 2040. To reach this goal the energy demand can be lowered by improving the efficiency while the remaining energy has to be generated by low carbon energy resources instead of fossil fuels. One of the most promising low carbon energy resources is solar photovoltaic (PV). While the worldwide application of PV is growing fast the Netherlands and the province of Utrecht are lacking behind. Therefore this thesis focused on the possibility to accelerate this application within the province of Utrecht. To get an insight in the role PV could play in the province of Utrecht the technological potential for the application of PV on buildings was calculated. The roof and facade surface combined can cover between 50% and 150% of the current electricity need within the province. Future improvements in PV system efficiency and the ability to cover more of the available roof space can double this potential. With an optimal application this can result in an CO2 emission reduction of 40% in 2040 compared to the current CO2 emission caused by the provincial electricity and gas consumption. The current PV market should focus on small electricity consumers who pay a high price for energy from the grid. The payback time is about half the technical lifetime of a PV system. Still a large initial investment has to be made to buy the PV system. To overcome this barrier a loan or lease construction can be applied. The feasibility of installing PV within the province of Utrecht without subsidies depends on the possibility to get such a loan/lease with low interest/costs due to the long duration of both constructions. To understand why the application of PV is low all the issues surrounding PV within the province of Utrecht will be analysed. The framework of Innovation Systems (IS) and in particular the Technological Innovation System (TIS) is used to do this. This system focuses on the actors, organizations, and institutions that influence the development, diffusion, and implementation of a single technology. To gain insight in the dynamics of the TIS, the relevant activities within the Innovation System need to be mapped and linked to the seven System Functions: 1. Entrepreneurial Activity, 2. Knowledge Development, 3. Knowledge Diffusion, 4. Guidance of the Search, 5. Market Formation, 6. Resource Mobilization, 7. Counteracting Resistance to Change. These System Functions are not isolated but influence each other. Certain patterns of interactions are known as Motors of Innovation that were used to compare the PV TIS with earlier TIS research to gain insights in possible improvements. By applying the TIS research in the form of a historical analysis and a current state analysis with expert interviews the following three points of focus were formulated to accelerate the diffusion of PV within the province of Utrecht: The market formation should be enhanced, by targeting the small consumer both on an individual basis with low interest/costs loan or lease and a cooperatives basis with knowledge support from municipalities. By doing this the linkage between supply and demand is also improved. As a last focus coalitions should be built to overcome the lack of coordination and direction. In an early phase this is not a problem but as the market expands it becomes critical to form coalitions and establish networks.