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    Preparing a solar take-off: solar energy demonstration and exhibitions in Japan, 1945–1993

    Shin, Hiroki (2016) Preparing a solar take-off: solar energy demonstration and exhibitions in Japan, 1945–1993. In: Beltran, Alain and Laborie, Leonard and Stephanie, Le Gallic (eds.) Electrical Worlds: Creations, Circulations, Tensions, and Transitions, from the 19th to the 21st Centuries. History of Energy 8. Brussels, Belgium: Peter Lang. ISBN 9782807600287.

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    When the first oil crisis hit Japan in 1973, the country was highly dependent on imported oil as the source of electric power. The dire prospect of an oil cut-off gave sufficient and immediate impetus for Japan to begin searching frantically for alternative energy sources. Starting in 1974, the state-sponsored Sunshine Project, which originated from concern about the country’s excessive oil dependency – rather than being a direct response to the oil crisis – mobilised the technological and financial resources for finding viable energy alternatives and implemented a number of state-funded projects. One of the most successful enterprises was the development of solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation, and, as a consequence, the household solar PV panel penetrated into the consumer market in the 1990s, comparatively earlier than most of the developed nations. The existing literature tends to focus on the economic incentive provided by state subsidy. However, the diffusion of the solar panel in Japan calls for a more nuanced explanation. A certain degree of social acceptance was needed before a large number of consumers embraced a new energy technology to the extent that they were willing to pay for the initial cost. The social acceptance for using a new technology was, in turn, based on pre-existing knowledge about the technology. This paper aims at shedding light on the pathways through which the knowledge about solar energy proliferated in the Japanese society, by focusing on solar energy demonstration and exhibitions – these forms of knowledge circulation had their roots in the penetration of the solar water heater in rural areas of Japan in the immediate post-WWII period.


    Item Type: Book Section
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): renewable energy, solar energy, history, energy exhibition, Japan
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Hiroki Shin
    Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2016 08:48
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:22


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