Photovoltaic diffusion from the bottom-up: Analytical investigation of critical factors

Kathrin Reinsberger, Thomas Brudermann, Stefanie Hatzl, Eva Fleiss, Alfred Posch

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


The objective of this paper is to systematically identify and assess critical factors, which foster or hinder the development of bottom-up initiatives in the diffusion of photovoltaics. Bottom-up initiatives are social innovations, which entail civil engagement in energy transition at a local or regional level, and are expected to play a growing role in the governance of local energy systems in Europe. A mixed design methodology is used to identify critical factors and assess their importance. This involves combining an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats with an analytic hierarchy process. The findings indicate that successful initiatives are those which are able to draw upon substantial local public interest and trust in the new technology, and which manage to combine financial attractiveness with environmental concerns. The results make clear that the political context is also an extremely important success factor. Given the appropriate circumstances, such initiatives may make a significant contribution in the transition to a sustainable energy system, and thus prove useful in reaching European energy targets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178 - 187
JournalApplied Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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