Assessing the impact of R&D policy on PV market development: The case of South Korea

Yoon Hee Ha, John Byrne, Hae Seok Lee, Ye Jin Lee, Dong Hwan Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to examine the Korean photovoltaic (PV) R&D strategy and its effectiveness in helping Korean manufacturer competitiveness. The article reviewed the Korean government's PV R&D funding from 2008 to 2017 and investigated the technology readiness levels of 298 R&D projects funded by the Korean government during the same period. It is found that the Korean government followed a two-track approach of nurturing commercialization technology to cope with rapid growth and volatility in the current global market. The effects of government support for market-ready and next-generation technologies in order to position the country in today's competition and to prepare it for “first mover” opportunities in emerging markets are considered. During 2008–2017, Korean manufacturers maintained a 7% of market share. Module prices, which were more than USD 6 per watt in 2000, fell to less than USD 1 in 2017. From a technical point of view, silicon-based modules have achieved world-class status in their efficiency. Performance of the country's nonsilicon technologies reached nearly 90% of the world's best nonsilicon products in the early 2010s, but recently, next-generation technology development is lagging. Despite Korean PV industry's achievements, it is unclear whether Korean government PV R&D strategy affected competitiveness. Since 2013, the Korean government has sharply cut PV R&D funding. Early growth may have been affected by government support, but recent growth may be driven by corporate strategies. A significantly higher level of R&D funding may be needed for Korea's next-generation technologies to capture “first mover” status. This article is categorized under: Energy and Climate > Economics and Policy Photovoltaics > Economics and Policy Energy Policy and Planning > Economics and Policy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere366
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar 1

Keywords

  • Korea solar policy
  • energy R&D
  • energy policy
  • solar energy
  • solar markets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)

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