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Drivers of solar photovoltaic deployment in South African public universities: a Delphi study

Nutifafa Geh (Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology, Central University of Technology, Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa) (Unit for Research and Projects, T-Action Global, Accra, Ghana)
Fidelis Emuze (Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology, Central University of Technology, Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa)
Dillip Kumar Das (School of Engineering, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa)

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment

ISSN: 2046-6099

Article publication date: 15 December 2021

Issue publication date: 20 February 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

Solar photovoltaic energy is the fastest growing renewable energy in South Africa, and deployment at public universities is critical in order to meet the high energy demand on campuses in a more sustainable manner. To promote and support deployment, it is necessary to know the factors that drive adoption of the technology. Thus, the aim of this study was to identify the factors which engender deployment of photovoltaic energy in public universities in South Africa.

Design/methodology/approach

Through an extensive literature review, the factors which drive photovoltaic energy deployment were identified and a three round Delphi survey was conducted for panellists to rate the drivers. The data were analysed using SPSS Version 27, and the mean and inter-quartile range values were used to identify the significant drivers within the public university sector.

Findings

The findings suggested that the deployment of photovoltaic energy is engendered by the direct and indirect benefits, social influences and the relative advantage of photovoltaic energy usage. For instance, universities install photovoltaic energy because of the financial gains that are made through reduction of energy cost. The deployment is also motivated by the reduction of energy-related greenhouse gases, enhancement of university sustainability performance, and the contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Originality/value

A significant contribution to the body of knowledge regarding the drivers of photovoltaic energy deployment has been made in the paper from the perspective of a public university. The contribution fills the knowledge gap in South Africa by contributing valuable information to enable decision-makers to gain better understanding of the key issues that call for more attention in promoting and supporting photovoltaic energy deployment in the sector.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper reports part of the findings of a research project which was aimed at improving the sustainability of buildings through the use of solar photovoltaic in public universities in South Africa. The authors acknowledge that this paper and the other related papers published with different scopes of the research project share similar background and methodology.

The research was supported by the National Research Foundation of South Africa and The World Academy of Sciences through the NRF-TWAS African Renaissance Doctoral Scholarship (Grant Number 116085), and Central University of Technology, Free State.

The authors wish to thank the panellists who graciously participated in the surveys, and also the editor and reviewers for their various contributions.

Citation

Geh, N., Emuze, F. and Das, D.K. (2023), "Drivers of solar photovoltaic deployment in South African public universities: a Delphi study", Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 407-434. https://doi.org/10.1108/SASBE-08-2021-0140

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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