The deployment of new energy technologies and the need for local learning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The objective of this paper is to identify local aspects of technological learning in the deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV), a globally important form of distributed energy technology. We review literature in the economics of innovation and economic geography to identify the need for local learning when adopting new technologies and seek evidence on the local aspects of learning processes in the deployment of new (energy) technologies. The analysis focuses on the empirical evidence of learning processes in PV deployment. Our findings show that learning for PV deployment exhibits characteristics of local learning identified in the innovation literature (tacit knowledge, shared narratives, user relations and learning in interorganizational networks). In addition, we show that competencies in the deployment of PV rely on learning processes that are closely connected to the historically and geographically distinctive characteristics of the built environment. We also find evidence of the significance of proximity in (local) learning, as well as examples of knowledge being codified over time into national and global knowledge flows. We conclude with policy implications that acknowledge the importance of local learning for deployment.


External organisations
  • University of Helsinki
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Energy Systems


  • Distributed energy technologies, Energy technology deployment, Local learning, Solar photovoltaic (PV), Technological learning
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-283
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Feb 1
Publication categoryResearch