Energy systems in rural China are experiencing a transition from traditional fossil fuels to renewables. This paper aims to investigate the potential factors that influence the choices of rural residents regarding water heaters with a focus on the low-carbon transition to solar water heating systems. To this end, a face-to-face questionnaire survey is undertaken with 3404 rural households randomly selected among 12 representative provinces. A comprehensive set of discrete choice modelling approaches were used. The empirical results show that (1) sociodemographic variables have significant effects on residents’ first-stage choice of a water heater (to buy or not to buy) but few effects on the second-stage decision to choose electric, LPG, or solar water heaters (which type to buy); (2) information spillover is important to facilitate the usage of water heaters, particularly of solar products; (3) the electricity price, which is regulated at a very low rate, has no apparent effect on the choice of solar water heaters; (4) government subsidy has a significant effect in the first stage but no differentiated effect on the decision choice in the second stage. Policy and managerial implications are presented to speed up the ongoing low-carbon transition of energy systems in China.
Energy Policy – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2018
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