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A Contribution to Social Acceptance of PV in an Oil-Rich Country: Reflections on Governmental Organisations in Iran

Aghlimoghadam, Leila; Salehi, Sadegh; Dienel, Hans-Liudger

To examine the social acceptance of renewable energy infrastructures regarding their position in the success of energy transition, attitudes towards these technologies have been increasingly recognised to play an important role. Notably, most of empirical literature has focused on the global northern countries, with bottom-up transition governance structure. In this paper, we study attitudes towards photovoltaics in Iran, as a fossil fuel-rich country of the global south, with a top-down energy transition structure and committed to UNFCCC. We focused on governmental organisations as a key stakeholder group regarding their role in winning public acceptance. Aiming at finding determinants of attitudes towards PV, we conducted 15 qualitative interviews in 10 governmental organisations in Golestan, Guilan and Tehran. Taking an inductive approach to the data, we considered the acceptance and attitude theories as sensitising concepts to investigate common and specific issues in terms of social acceptance in Iran. We find accessing electricity and diversifying electricity resources via PV as the key technical drivers, and the upstream policies as the key political drivers towards PV adoption. Though the weak policies (design and implementation), privileging economic and technical obstacles, do hinder the PV adoption and shape negative attitudes toward it. We realise that the previous literature overlooked the fossil fuel-rich countries and their energy transition governance structure. Our findings imply that better-designed upstream policies with a more enabling policy framework are needed to motivate actions on the governmental organisation level.
Published in: Sustainability, 10.3390/su142013477, MDPI