A Segmentation Model for Technological Innovations: The Case of PV in the Netherlands
Published: 20 October 2012 by MDPI in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Sources
Abstract: The transition from a fossil-fuel based system to a sustainable energy based system is required in order to counteract environmental problems and achieve a more sustainable future. The multi-level perspective (MLP) and the technological innovation systems (TIS) framework are used as analytical frameworks to describe, understand and analyze the changes associated with technological transitions. In both frameworks the heterogeneity of users is ill-considered. User requirements will differ among users in ways that are unknown to the provider of the innovation, at least initially. Users have functional needs and aspirations as humans. It is important to inquire into the needs, ways of thinking and cultural meaning of products, as they are an integral part of transition processes. Especially in the domain of adoption of sustainable energy technologies there is little scientific research from a user perspective. The adoption of sustainable energy technology is determined from the number of individuals or households that decide to adopt or reject that technology under a specific set of conditions. Instead of looking at what technology can do for people, this research puts user behavior into a daily context as a starting point in order to find out which kinds of people use the technology? Can groups of technology users be recognized that are for example 'green buyers' or \'materialists\'? And what kind of people are they. The preference of individuals for example on climate change gives insight in factors that are likely to determine groups of users. In this research, we use a lifestyle perspective to analyze whether users of PV have similar personal values and lifestyles. We focus on PV as it is one of the most promising low carbon energy sources. While the worldwide application of PV is growing fast the Netherlands is lacking behind. So, the objective of this study is to identify a small number of relatively homogeneous groups of technological users, based on their adoption or rejection of a specific technological innovation. By taken into account different segmentation models of the Dutch population which are used in the building market in the Netherlands, we introduce a segmentation model which can be used for analyzing the diffusion of technological innovations, in particular PV. The introduced model allows us to answer the question whether adopters and non adopters consider the same or different attributes.
Keywords: PV, The Netherlands, Users, Adoption