The Chinese province of Shandong, and more particularly its cities Dezhou, Jinan and Rizhao, have established an international reputation of being hotbeds for solar water heating (SWH) technology development and dissemination. The article aims to unveil the evolution of this innovative environment by applying the Functions of Innovation Systems (FIS) approach to the Chinese province of Shandong. It examines the actors, institutions and policy instruments that shape Shandong's innovation system for SWH, the dominant drivers and barriers during the evolution of the TIS and also assesses the applicability of the IS approach to China. It appears that the presence of influential interest organizations and proactive support from local governments have acted as strong drivers for the emergence of Shandong's innovation system for SWHs. On the other hand, the lack of adequate personnel and an overreliance on government policies act as main barriers. With regard to the Chinese specificities potentially detracting from the relevance of applying IS theory to China, we did not find that the central government acted as an initiator of innovation nor that state-owned enterprises had dominant positions in the market. In this innovative industry the impetus for development came from the bottom up and from private corporations.
Energy Policy – Elsevier
Published: Nov 1, 2015
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