The Policy Drivers of Photovoltaic Industry Growth in California, Germany, and Japan gives a detailed description of the policy approaches adopted by the countries that have been most successful in setting up a photovoltaic technology industry. It examines the links between technological paths, policy measures affecting demand or supply, and industry performance. It reviews the technologies producing electricity from the sun, assesses their degree of maturity and innovative potential, and looks at the conditions that stimulate R&D while triggering investments. It studies the main drivers to PV industry growth, and focuses on the priority drivers in each of the analyzed country: trade benefits, energy independence, green jobs creation, GHG emission concerns, and Intellectual Property creation.

Its conclusion is that public policies stimulate innovation, ensure patent protection and apply incentive measures or command-and-control instruments. These are all critical components of a complementary industrial and energy policy that should be implemented all along the innovation chain. On the one hand, this analysis shows a strong positive correlation between technology policy and the success of manufacturing firms in the long run, and on the other a lower positive correlation between energy policy measures and the success of PV manufacturing firms, that is generally short term. To support this conclusion, this work analyzes in detail the global and enterprise-level strategies adopted by some of the major players in the field, such as Q-Cells, First Solar, SunPower, Suntech, and Sharp.

This seminar has been jointly organized by FEEM and IEFE, Bocconi University.