{Diffusion of solar electricity in the network of private actors as a strategic experiment to mitigate climate change}

Title{Diffusion of solar electricity in the network of private actors as a strategic experiment to mitigate climate change}
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsSaikku L, Tainio P, Hildén M, Antikainen R, Leskinen P, Koskela S
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Date Publishedjan
AbstractLow-carbon experiments offer interesting opportunities for climate change mitigation. They can be seen as niche activities that eventually challenge the existing regime of energy production and consumption. The role of actors in these potential transitions has not been extensively studied. This study bridges this gap by analysing ten cases of joint procurement experiments of on-grid solar photovoltaic energy in Finland. The study deepens the understanding of how such experimenting can contribute to climate change mitigation in an area that in many countries is still a largely untapped source of change. The study shows that the expansion of solar PV can be enhanced through joint procurement experiments which thereby become strategic. The joint procurement lowered several barriers of adoption and can therefore accelerate diffusion of solar PV significantly, even when there is a lack of explicit political support in the form of a subsidy system. Joint procurements help to overcome one of the most important barriers of solar panel purchase – the price, but the joint procurement experiments also offer important social support to the peers. The positive image of solar electricity greatly empowers consumers and increases acceptance of large investment costs. Further mainstreaming of the experiments towards a regime shift would benefit from institutional support that eases the laborious process of joint procurement and that strengthens the small scale producers' negotiating position relative to the utilities and power network operators in trading surplus electricity.