Department of Business Development and Technology

Market dynamics, innovation, and transition in China's solar photovoltaic (PV) industry: A critical review

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  • Hongyang Zou, Tianjin University
  • ,
  • Huibin Du, Tianjin University, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • ,
  • Jingzheng Ren, Centre for Sustainable Engineering Operations Management, University of Southern Denmark
  • ,
  • Benjamin K. Sovacool
  • Yongjie Zhang, Tianjin University
  • ,
  • Guozhu Mao, Tianjin University

China's photovoltaic (PV) industry has undergone dramatic development in recent years and is now the global market leader in terms of newly added capacity. However, market diffusion and adoption in China is not ideal. This paper examines the blocking and inducement mechanisms of China's PV industry development from the perspective of technological innovation. By incorporating a Technological Innovation System (TIS) approach, the analysis performed here complements the previous literature, which has not grounded itself in a theoretical framework. In addition, to determine the current market dynamics, we closely examine market concentration trends as well as the vertical and horizontal integration of upstream and downstream actors (74.8% and 36.3%). The results of applying the TIS framework reveal that poor connectivity in networks, unaligned competitive entities and a lack of market supervision obstruct the development of China's PV industry. Therefore, we maintain that inducement mechanisms are required to instigate learning-by-doing capacities, which may help overcome blocking mechanisms and offset functional innovation deficiencies. In addition, policy implications are proposed for promoting the development of the PV industry in China.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRenewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews
Pages (from-to)197-206
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

    Research areas

  • Blocking/inducement mechanisms, Functional pattern, Solar photovoltaic (PV), Technological Innovation System (TIS)

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