Business model translation—The case of spreading a business model for solar energy

Publication date: April 2019

Source: Renewable Energy, Volume 133

Author(s): Kajsa Ahlgren Ode, Jessica Lagerstedt Wadin


Distributed solar photovoltaic systems are considered an important renewable energy source for meeting renewable energy targets and mitigating climate change. In several markets, emerging firms have established new business models to offer residential customers solar panel systems. In California, the third-party ownership business model has been successfully established during the last decade, and is currently spreading to other markets. Through a longitudinal case study, this paper explores how a startup firm in the Netherlands set up the third-party ownership business model on the Dutch market. The case shows that the process of bringing a business model to a new market is not sufficiently understood as a process of diffusion. Alternatively, it is a process of business model translation, in which the actors involved play a central role in adapting and successfully establishing the business model in a new market. The results have implications for both practitioners and policy makers, as well as the emerging literature on business models for sustainability.

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