Cities and Sustainable Technology Transitions
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Cities and Sustainable Technology Transitions

Leadership, Innovation and Adoption

Edited by Marina van Geenhuizen, J. Adam Holbrook and Mozhdeh Taheri

This enlightening book elucidates the leadership challenges of various cities in emerging transitions towards higher levels of sustainability. It examines elements of three socio-technical systems, energy, transport and healthcare, while addressing technology invention, commercialization, mass-production and adoption. The book breaks new ground in the analysis of topical issues such as local ‘cradle’ conditions, incentive schemes, niche-development, living labs, impact bonds, grass-roots intermediation and adaptive policy making. It offers a broad coverage of global systems of cities, with a particular focus on Scandinavia, Germany, the Netherlands, China, Korea, Japan, the US and Canada.
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Chapter 5: Urban innovation or rural dedication? Contrasts in sociotechnical niche development in photovoltaics in Germany

Martina Fromhold-Eisebith and Ulrich Dewald

Abstract

The focus of this chapter is on socio-technical niches and adoption of photovoltaics (PV) technology, presenting Germany as a case study. By taking a mainly institutional approach and by paying attention to different market segments, the bias in favour of urban areas in sustainability transition studies is avoided. Using eight dimensions, for example topographical nature, building and settlement features, economic structure, socio-economic entrepreneurship and policy agency, it is concluded that both urban and rural areas may enhance PV technology adoption, albeit in different ways. For example, rural areas can act as large-scale providers of ‘greenfield’ installations due to topographical/settlement characteristics. In the segment of civic corporate solar systems, as cooperatives, small-scale opportunities are provided for shareholder funding and local use of solar energy. A third segment, the small-scale roof-mounted systems, with home-owners and local installers as the main actors involved, is found in rural areas, medium-sized cities and in the fringes of larger cities.

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