Community Solar As an Innovative Business Model for Building-Integrated Photovoltaics: An Experimental Analysis With Swiss Electricity Consumers – Energy and Buildings – article

Community Solar As an Innovative Business Model for Building-Integrated Photovoltaics: An Experimental Analysis With Swiss Electricity Consumers

Alexander Stauch, Pascal Vuichard | Energy and Buildings

2019-10-22

A currently pertinent research challenge is to find ways to keep the growth rate of solar power at a high level. The adoption of new technologies, such as building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), but also new and innovative business models such as community solar, have both been identified as relevant drivers. However, the adoption of BIPV is still encountering numerous barriers that hinder its more widespread deployment within the solar PV market. The goal of this research effort was to assess whether community solar as a successful business model for the adoption of conventional solar PV could be equally promising in relation to the further adoption of BIPV. For this purpose, we conducted an experimental survey (n = 413) to compare customers’ willingness to buy a community solar offer exclusively associated with BIPV to a community solar offer solely designed with conventional rooftop solar PV. Our results revealed no significant difference between willingness to buy based on our experimental treatment (BIPV vs. conventional PV), indicating that community solar can be a successful distribution channel for the further adoption of BIPV. As findings about specific business models for BIPV are rare, our research creates an important foundation upon which policy makers and project developers can build.

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