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

8 Citations (Scopus)

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

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
information Korea government (MOTIE), Grant/Award Number: 20188550000450This work was supported by KU-KIST Graduate School Project, the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) grant funded by the Korea government (MOTIE) (No. 20188550000450), and Foundation for Renewable Energy and Environment.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by KU‐KIST Graduate School Project, the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) grant funded by the Korea government (MOTIE) (No. 20188550000450), and Foundation for Renewable Energy and Environment.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors. WIREs Energy and Environment published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science

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