Autonomous PV niche markets in the Netherlands: implications for Friesland and the PV transition
Jaco Quist1, Daphne Geelen2, Han Brezet2, Coen van der Giesen3, Kakee Scott3, Jacob Verhaart3, Feng Wang3 1 Technology Dynamics & Sustainable Development, Faculty of Technology, Policy, Management, TU Delft, Jaffalaan 5, NL-2628 BX Delft. E: j.n.quist@tudelft.nl. 2 Design for Sustainability, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, TU Delft, Landbergstraat 15, NL-2628 CE Delft. E: d.v.geelen@tudelft.nl, j.c.brezet@tudelft.nl 3 Industrial Ecology Master Programme, TU Delft & Leiden University.
Photovoltaic (PV) technologies are seen as a major renewable energy technology for the future, but currently electricity from photovoltaic systems is considered as too expensive compared to 'regular' electricity from the grid. As a consequence, grid-connected PV requires subsidies to facilitate further growth. Meanwhile niche markets have emerged for stand-alone autonomous PV systems. In the Netherlands autonomous PV applications include PV systems for remote holiday cottages, water buoys, applications on ships and boats, as well as street lights, parking meters, mobile communication, recreation and cattle water pumps.
The key issue addressed in this paper is why autonomous PV applications can be commercially produced and marketed in these niche markets and which factors have enabled and constrained these innovations. The second issue looks into the relevance for the province of Friesland that wants to be a frontrunner in applying and producing PV systems, and in particular into what the opportunities and recommendations are for Fryseps (FRYsian Solar Energy Products and Services), a development program initiated by the Cartesius Institute, that aims at strengthening the Frysian economy by developing knowledge and expertise on PV technology, products and services.
To deal with this issue, the paper deals with the following topics:
  • It defines market niches and compares them to other types of niches that have been distinguished in innovation theory.
  • It identifies and explores several autonomous PV niches markets in the Netherlands, giving an overview of producers and products.
  • It analyses actor-networks and looks to what extent actors with different roles are present.
  • It also analyses to what extent the autonomous PV innovation system provides all needed functions.
  • It discusses the relevance, implications and opportunities for Friesland, in particular for the future of the Fryseps program.
Full Paper (.doc format, 187.0 kb)

9:00 AM-5:00 PM, Thursday, June 26, 2008, Oral

The Netherlands, 2008 Meeting