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Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1474-2748
  • E-ISSN: 2040-0551



Previous studies have shown that the global diffusion of renewable energy technologies has been rather slow. The challenges facing the diffusion of renewables in developing countries, in particular, have been complex, even though such nations are generally known to be richly endowed with renewable resources. For instance, Ethiopia, one of the highest solar radiation-endowed countries in sub-Saharan Africa, has a huge renewable potential that has yet to be exploited through the application of appropriate renewable energy technologies. This study is an attempt to explore the systemic problems and barriers affecting the diffusion of solar (energy) innovations in Ethiopia. The Innovation Systems (IS) framework is used for the analysis of this embryonic solar market and the overall diffusion of solar innovations. Data for the study were collected from the relevant stakeholders through semi-structured interviews, observations and archival document reviews. The study identified that there are known diffusion barriers and systemic problems that have constrained the diffusion of solar innovations in the country. The lack of integration among solar actors and the financial problem facing both sides of the supply chain have been identified as critical factors behind the slow rate of diffusion. This article makes recommendations for solar actors to identify faster diffusion mechanisms and for further research on how to build a well-functioning IS in the country.


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