An Innovation Systems View of the Australian PV Industry

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Australia leads the world in some areas of photovoltaic technology development, yet current innovation system limitations have seen local innovation overtaken by more rapid international development, or local product development moving offshore for commercialisation. Innovation is traditionally viewed as a linear progression through phases of early research, demonstration, commercialisation and market uptake, and this traditional view strongly emphasises the importance of the early phases. The latest thinking on innovation suggests that technological learning occurs not only through R&D, but also through manufacturing and marketing activities and through the interactions of actors within networks. In this paradigm, technology diffusion, as well as invention and adoption, plays a role in determining the direction of technological change. Organisational change and institutional change, which are critical in determining which technologies become established, are considered to be as important as technical change. This paper proposes the use of an innovation systems framework to assess the characteristics of the Australian PV innovation system, such as the type and number of actors, their linkages, and the resources available to them. Where much of the past support for the PV industry in Australia has been directed towards early research or market development, this research will provide information that could enable the design of policies that better facilitate innovation throughout the value chain and thus improve the impact of future policies on innovation.
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Bruce, Anna Gabrielle
Passey, Robert
Watt, Muriel
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UNSW Faculty
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