How fast can businesses in the new energy sector grow? An analysis of critical factors

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18 Citations (Scopus)


For the new energy technology markets to grow, demand, prices, and business conditions need to be in balance. It is not just declining prices and increasing volumes that are important, but the business in the new energy sector also needs to be healthy, which is not always the case at present. We have analyzed the ability of businesses in the new energy sector to invest in new production capacity, which influences the total volume growth. Using the self-financeable growth rate (SGR) as an indicator, a declining trend was found among PV and wind power manufacturers. The prospects of initiating new investments through returns from operations are poor or negligible at present, which is explained by tougher competition, shrinking public support, and new entrants, among others. Reducing the cost of sales would be the most effective way to improve the growth prospects, though increasing revenues, e.g., through higher product prices, comes close to achieving the same result. Market measures such as consolidation, rationalization, better asset use, improving efficiency, etc. are equally important. The analysis results imply a growth limit of ca. 15-25% per year with present market conditions, which may also be a more permanent level, supported by findings from technology diffusion and growth model studies. The results suggest that it is not self-evident that the new energy technologies will meet the future goals set for these in the climate and energy policy strategies, unless policymakers and decision makers properly address the issue of restoring and securing sound business conditions. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalRenewable Energy
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Market penetration
  • Renewable energy
  • Self-financeable growth
  • Photovoltaics
  • Wind power

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