Clearly we need to search the innovation sciences for ways to think about VLS-PV implementation that are more dynamic and take changing contexts into consideration. In the following we take our cue from the booming field of sustainability transition studies. This particular field within the innovation sciences asks questions that solar power plants face today: Why do some radical innovations transform from technical possibilities into viable market niches and eventually become part of (or even displace) the dominant technological system, while others do not? What lessons can we draw for the management and implementation of sustainable technologies in uncertain contexts [4, 5]? We here discuss three such approaches. Strategic niche management is an analysis, policy, and practitioner tool that seeks to study and strengthen the dynamics of emergent sustainable technology niches and their transition to full-blown technological systems or “regimes”. ESTEEM is a practitioner tool for social acceptance of novel technologies in local projects [6,7]. New approaches in the business models literature discuss how entrepreneurs may systematically search and design business models for radical innovations in unstable
After many years of study and preparatory work [1-3], solar power plants in desert regions increasingly count as a realistic energy option. VLS-PV plants have started to appear around the world. From the perspective of the existing global energy system, however, large scale solar power plants remain a promising yet very small niche. They still require financial and political support, entrepreneurs still search for viable business models, and acclaimed benefits such as relieving energy scarcity, job creation, poverty alleviation, and climate change mitigation are still to materialize. Accordingly practitioners and researchers increasingly focus on the challenges of socio-economic feasibility and market implementation to turn desert solar power plants into the “powerhouses of the world”.