Handbook of Research on Energy Entrepreneurship
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Handbook of Research on Energy Entrepreneurship

  • Elgar original reference

Edited by Rolf Wüstenhagen and Robert Wuebker

This timely Handbook provides an excellent overview of our knowledge on the drivers, influencing factors and outcomes of energy entrepreneurship. As the world grapples with global resource crunches and fights to reap the rewards of new energy technologies, a wide space for entrepreneurial opportunity has emerged. The Handbook of Research on Energy Entrepreneurship offers critical insight on how nations the world over can make full use of those opportunities.
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Chapter 8: Photovoltaic Business Models: Threat or Opportunity for Utilities?

Jean-Marc Schoettl and Laurence Lehmann-Ortega

Extract

8 Photovoltaic business models: threat or opportunity for utilities? Jean-Marc Schoettl and Laurence Lehmann-Ortega 1 INTRODUCTION The forecast depletion of major fossil fuels, combined with a growing concern for environmental issues has triggered an exponential growth of renewable energy over the past decade: it represented about 14 per cent of total global primary energy supply in 2005.1 Although worldwide installed capacity increased from 1.4 gigawatts (GW) in 2000 to 9.1 GW in 2007, cumulative solar energy production currently accounts for less than 0.01 per cent of this total. Even moderate estimates predict a 30 per cent market growth rate increase in the next 10 years. These exponential growth rates are characteristics of a market in its infancy and thus facing challenges common to all emerging sectors: competing technologies, potential shortage of raw materials and a high proportion of new entrants, stimulating fierce competition in a turbulent market. Thus, as in all radical new markets, the photovoltaic (PV) sector presents both opportunities and uncertainties. Although utilities are among the main players in the overall energy market,2 it is worthwhile noting that they play only a limited part in this exponential growth. At today’s low levels of market penetration, distributed, grid-connected PV is not a central concern, or even of great interest to most utilities. However, as PV market penetration accelerates, utilities will become critical stakeholders, driven primarily by concerns about grid operation, safety, and revenue erosion. Until now, utilities have mainly responded to regulators, who asked nothing more of them...

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