FOSTEr in MED publishes the Context Analysis report: perception and knowledge on solar technologies and solar technologies in Mediterranean countries


FOSTEr in MED publishes the Context Analysis report: perception and knowledge on solar technologies and solar technologies in Mediterranean countries.

The Report represents one of the main result of Foster in Med project, aimed at promoting the adoption of solar photovoltaic technologies (PV) and Building Integrated PV technologies (BIPV) in the Mediterranean countries: Egypt, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Spain, Tunisia.
The research, coordinated by the University of Cagliari (Italy) Department of Social Science and Institutions (DiSSI), has been leaded simultaneously by researchers and pollster of the six countries.
As a preliminary step of the project activities, the Context Analysis is aimed to understanding drivers and barriers to the diffusion of solar PV technologies in urban environment.
More deeply it aims to understand what are the market conditions, the normative settings and local regulation standards, the technical knowledge, the level of diffusion, public interest and social acceptability of solar energy, in particular PV and BIPV technologies.

Fostering solar technology in the Mediterranean area – Context Analysis Report

The activity, started on December 2012, has been performed through three steps, corresponding to the three main chapters of the report: a preliminary desk analysis; in-depth interviews to local stakeholders; finally a survey through the administration of 100 questionnaires to a small convenience sample of citizens in each country involved in the project.
The desk analysis reveals critical issues common to all countries: an increase in residential electricity consumption; an increase in the air conditioning and heat pumps diffusion, mainly to cool buildings in the summer period; economic and management problems due to the fossil fuel dependence; an increasing cost of electricity; critical issues in the promotion field (lack of information, knowledge, awareness, etc.). Moreover the report reveals relevant differences between EU and in MENA countries: while Italy and Spain are subject to the UE climate change policy that leads to a high pressure towards Renewable Energies and Energy Efficiency, Mena Countries has a lower diffusion of PV technologies, which are considered an expensive technology, mainly recommended for areas not grid connected.
What is social acceptability? The second section of the report, the In-depth interviews of key actors of the private and public sphere, aims to provide an overview of the context of social acceptability in the six countries.
The themes analyzed focus on the following areas: perception; innovation; public policies; development of specific topics; drivers/barriers. Among the result emerged that while environmental issues are perceived as a “political” problem, the adoption of PV technologies is seen as an “economic” choice. A common element in the discussion is the central role of public institution, due to his regulatory function and the power to grant subsidies, and also the role of awareness raising through specific policies and programs, and the power to ease the bureaucratic process.
The third and last stage of the analysis involved a survey of citizens from the six countries, aimed to provide information on the level of awareness respect to innovative PV technologies, and on the social acceptance of BIPV applications in different country urban environments. The results shows that potential “adopters”, (i.e. affirmed to be certain to install a PV system in their house in the near future), are well informed of the existing subsidies to promote these technologies, and would be further pushed toward the investment if they could see PV systems at work, in friends relatives, neighbors households buildings, or in public buildings. Another relevant issue is how the information is conveyed: although in the in-depth interviews the Internet was often identified as a good source of information that would help the diffusion of PV technologies, the survey show the importance of other sources that should be perceived as “neutral”, i.e. not coming from professionals or organizations that hold a private interest in the investment. Concerning the social acceptability of different PV applications on residential buildings in the urban context, individuals characterized by appreciation of the environmental qualities of their neighborhood are keen on the BIPV applications, which are strongly preferred than basic PV. This is an interesting result, since it is often claimed that a higher identification and attachment to a place generates higher opposition toward changes in the landscape produced by the installation of renewable energy technologies.
The context analysis results represent the starting point of ongoing and next project activities, in particular raising awareness with student and citizens and local administrator. The tangible impact of the research will be verified during the seminar with local administrators involved in energy regulations in each partner country. Considering that bureaucracy and public decision making are emerged among the main barriers, the report could facilitate the decision maker in order to find new opportunities and solution, formalized through policy papers expected to be approved during the seminar.
Moreover, giving that the citizens would be further pushed toward the investment if they could see PV in public buildings, the report shows the potential impact of the BIPV pilot projects to be implemented next year in the five cities of the project: Cagliari, Alexandria; Beirut, Aqaba and Tunis.
The report is downloadable for free on the project website and on slideshare.
FOSTEr in MED is a project financed for an amount of 4,05 million Euro by the European Union through the ENPI CBC Mediterranean Sea Basin Programme (total amount of 4,5 million Euro). The project partners are: University of Cagliari (UNICA); Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Special Agency Industry (ASCAME); Promotional Services Centre for enterprises of the Cagliari Chamber of Commerce (CSPI); Confederation of Egyptian European Business Associations (CEEBA); Industrial Research Institute (IRI); Royal Scientific Society (RSS); Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Tunis (CCI Tunis); Autonomous Region of Sardinia (RAS).

For more information, please contact: Project Management Office UNICA – DICAAR via Marengo 2 – 09123 Cagliari (Italy) Tel +39 070 6755811; email:; website:



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