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Analysis of the Evolution of Photovoltaic Industry Technology Track Based on Patent Citation

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DOI: 10.23977/SMEHR2023.002


Qian Yu and Rui Tao

Corresponding Author

Rui Tao


Based on the patent data of the photovoltaic industry, this paper uses technology life cycle analysis and main path analysis to study the trajectory evolution process and characteristics of the global photovoltaic industry technology development. The study finds that: (1) The development of photovoltaic technology is divided into three stages, namely the embryonic period from 1998 to 2001, the growth period from 2002 to 2013 and the mature period from 2014 to 2021. From the perspective of patent owners, Japan and South Korea are in the leading position in the world; (2) The technological development of the photovoltaic industry has formed two more complex paths, which have experienced the process of technology integration-technology separation-technology reintegration. With the evolution of the main path, the focus of research has shifted from the construction of hardware facilities such as light-emitting devices and their supporting devices to the research and development of high-performance materials with obvious advantages in transmission efficiency and device service life. (3) The technological orbital evolution of the photovoltaic industry has three characteristics, namely, the coexistence of the gradual route and the radical route in the evolution path, the diversification trend of the upstream and downstream leading technologies of the industrial chain, and the evolution of the technology track is affected by many factors of the external environment such as market demand, policy system, and energy status.


Technology track, photovoltaic industry, technology life cycle

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