One vision of future energy systems is based on an increasingly
decentralized supply of electricity and heat in small-scale systems
that are installed on the individual building level, which we refer
to as micropower. Our understanding of micropower includes systems
that provide electricity (such as photovoltaics), heat (such as wood
pellet stoves, heat pumps, or solar thermal collectors) or both heat
and electricity (micro-CHP, either based on natural gas or biomass).
Our focus is on micropower systems that have lower environmental
impact than incumbent technology, which tends to be oil heating and
conventional electricity from the grid in most European countries.
While the technological potential of micropower has been widely
acknowledged and some policies are explicitly trying to support this
market, the market adoption of micropower systems ultimately depends
on customer decisions to buy them, and on adequate business models
(Chesbrough and Rosenbloom 2002, Stähler 2001) for suppliers of
micropower systems to successfully meet demand. Compared to other
aspects of micropower, research on customer preferences and business
models are two relatively underdeveloped streams of research. Our
project uses a two-step approach to investigating customer
preferences: In a first phase (which is the subject of this paper),
we are using qualitative research methods (interviews and focus
groups) to gain a comprehensive understanding of underlying
attitudes and other factors influencing customers' buying decisions,
while in a second phase, a quantitative survey (using conjoint
analysis) will be conducted to assess the relative attractiveness of
different systems. On the supply side of our research, we are
investigating key aspects of successful business models.
Based on the findings of the first phase of our research, this paper aims at answering the following research questions:
• What are the attitudes, values and beliefs of Swiss residential customers towards various micropower systems?
• Which attributes of micropower systems are most relevant for customers’ buying decisions?
• Who else plays an important role in the decision process for or against micropower systems, and what are the most relevant sources of information for preparing buying decisions?
• What are promising target segments for marketing various micropower systems to Swiss consumers?
• What different types of business models for micropower can be identified in the micropower market (with an emphasis on solar thermal collectors) and how successful are they?
|type||conference paper (English)|
Sustainability; Distributed Energy; Innovation; Marketing; Business Model; Customer Preferences; Focus Group
|project||Micropower in residential buildings – An integrated analysis of consumer preferences, marketing strategies and emerging business models|
|name of conference||IAEE International Conference (Potsdam)|
|date of conference||10-6-2006|
|title of proceedings||Securing Energy in Insecure Times|
|publisher||International Association for Energy Economics|
|citation||Wüstenhagen, R., Boehnke, J., & Kaenzig, J. (2006). Micropower in residential buildings - an analysis of customer preferences and business models. In Securing Energy in Insecure Times: International Association for Energy Economics.|