Landscape Analysis: Regulations, Policies, and Innovation in Photovoltaic Industry

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Infrastructure and Technology Management: Contributions from the Energy, Healthcare and Transportation Sectors

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Reflecting concerns over the environment, health, and security stemming from the consumption of conventional fossil fuel energy sources, such as gas, oil, and coal, has been raised in the world, which increases the expectation of replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy [1]. In addition to these concerns, rising prices of fossil fuels have forced many countries to support the development of renewable energy sources, such as, solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal [3]. Among these renewable energy sources, solar photovoltaics (PV), which is also known as solar electric system, has long been considered as a clean and sustainable energy that directly converts solar radiation into current electricity by using semiconducting materials [4]. A PV system comprises a PV module and other electrical components, such as charge controllers, inverters, and disconnects. The direct conversion of sunlight to electricity occurs without any moving parts or environmental emissions during operation, which significantly protects the environment. Meanwhile, it has been well proved that PV installations can operate for no less than 100 years with little maintenance, thus extremely reducing the operating cost [4]. As Fig. 1.1 shows, this report begins with a detailed analysis of policies and regulations influencing the current innovation activities of solar PV. In particular, this study pays attention to the government policy supporting technological innovation and market creation. In addition, this report profited substantially from the knowledge of a few experts and research leaders in the industry and academic field who made themselves available for interviews and other queries. Then followed with several case studies on three countries – Germany, Japan, and the USA – some data were collected to analyze how market entry, product safety, environmental policies, and incentives influence the innovation of PV industry. Finally, we provide conclusions and policy implications on the development of the solar PV industry.

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