3.6 Awareness of Solar PV Technology
General awareness of solar technologies (solar lighting and solar water heating) and irrigation systems, mainly pumps, may be indicative of a population’s willingness to adopt similar technologies. The converse is also likely - lack of knowledge and information about solar technologies can pose a barrier to public discussion and decision making on the use of solar as an alternative energy solution. By way of example, high levels of awareness among end-users about the benefits, long-term costs and payback periods, and performance of solar lighting compared to use of alternative fuels for lighting (e.g. kerosene) can act as an enabler in the adoption of SPIS. Lack of exposure to real-life solar PV installations, on the other hand, is likely to lead to low confidence in new solar technologies.
Awareness of solar PV technologies may also affect the public’s access to market based financing. For instance, financial service providers who are not well-versed with SPIS and its related benefits may be hesitant in disbursing loans for their acquisition, and where loans are available, they may be under limiting conditions (e.g. high-interest rates). This hinders the technology adoption due to lack of financing for the high capital costs associated with SPIS.
The level of awareness of SPIS in a region or country can be deduced from various factors including:
- Trends in the adoption of irrigation pumps: Presence of suppliers and distributors of global brands of irrigation pumps and their associated spare parts may be considered a key indicator of market potential. This is especially relevant for SPIS suppliers where presence and growth rate of competitors may be indicative of the markets appetite for SPIS.
- The percentage of solar energy in a country’s energy mix: A significant proportion of solar power may be indicating of an enabling environment for the adoption of solar PV technologies.
- Solar PV adoption trends over a period of time, say 5 years can be assessed to determine uptake of the technology in the country/region.
- Assessment of awareness level of the country/region
- Trends in solar technology adoption
- Number of distributors and suppliers of global brands of irrigation pumps
- Number and distributors of global brands of solar equipment
- Solar energy proportion to the country’s energy mix
- Government bodies in energy and trade
- Research institutions