Researchers have contributed a fruitful understanding of the facilitating factors for solar water heaters (SWH) diffusion in China at different governance levels. However, the barriers to its further diffusion in the urban environment have so far not been addressed. One feature of SWH diffusion in China is that it emerged from the rural market, mainly driven by market demand. This article explicitly focuses on China's diffusion of SWH from rural areas to urban cities and explores the problems and barriers obstructing its full potential in cities. Applying the Multi-level Perspective (MLP) framework, the results find that the technological niche is still not mature enough, and the urban regime is still powerful in terms of building infrastructure, consumer demand, policy coordination and vested interests. SWH development in China is promoted more as a business opportunity, while environmental discourses have not been powerful enough to promote further diffusion in the urban context. We suggest there is a need to focus on technology innovation with higher industry standards and to implement more benefit-based incentive policies to motivate incumbent actors.
Energy Policy – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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