Dynamics of Technology Development Strategy under Changing Regulatory Regimes: An Analytical Framework and a Case Study on the Global Solar Photovoltaic Industry

  • Abdullah Kaya

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The development of renewable energy technologies is one of the key elements in the global combat of climate change. As public policies were introduced to mobilize the development and diffusion of renewable technologies, there is limited understanding on how regulation changes affect firms' technology development strategy in the presence of patent rights protection. To fill this intellectual gap, this thesis develops a conceptual framework to analyze the dynamics of technology development under changing regulatory regimes in a global context. This conceptual framework identifies the types of firms that will respond to regulation changes and specify their corresponding technology development strategies. A survey is then conducted to verify the fundamental assumptions underlying the conceptual framework. It is found that firms do track and develop technologies for related applications that are not their core businesses. The size of firms affects technology adaptation capacity. The conceptual framework is then applied to a case study that studies the dynamics of solar photovoltaic (PV) technology under regulation change. It is first identified that oil and gas, semiconductor, consumer electronics, and PV startup companies are relevant to regulation change in solar energy policy. It is then found that: (1) oil and gas companies had engaged in the development of solar PV technologies rather than trying to block it while failing to build a considerable production capacity, (2) firms in related industry such as semiconductor and consumer electronics hold a large number of Solar PV patents whereas there is no strong indication of technology adaption by these companies from their existing technologies to solar PV until now. Thus, technology relevancy is yet to be seen in solar PV industry, and (3) PV startups firms have been able to develop a strong production capacity, compared to oil and gas, semiconductor, and consumer electronics companies, thanks to public financial support. This indicates that firms lacking advanced technologies or manufacturing capacities may overcome these barriers of patent protection with worldwide support of public policies. Key Words: regulation, IPR, technology development, adaption and relevancy, solar photovoltaic, startups, established firms.
Date of Award2013
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorI-tsung Tsai (Supervisor)


  • Regulation
  • IPR
  • technology development
  • adaption and relevancy
  • solar photovoltaic
  • startups
  • established firms.

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