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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Exploring Business Models in New Markets for Decentralized Solar Photovoltaic Energy in Emerging Countries: Drawing Business Model Trajectories for Solar Decentralized Infrastructure in Emerging Markets

People recognize that the energy industry is changing and new business models are required. It is a constant pattern to read in different reports from the industry and in papers from the academia that new business models will foster the use of decentralized low carbon energy infrastructure. Nevertheless, these new business models are always mentioned as a concept and there is not enough research about the possible structures of these new business configurations.
Large scale energy infrastructure is commencing to share involuntarily the grid with decentralized infrastructure pushed mainly by new stakeholders different from the Utilities. The interaction of these types of infrastructure invites us to imagine and draft which could be the future business models that will foster the use of low carbon technologies. Drafting different routes of future business models will give us a better understanding of the possibilities for boosting decentralized infrastructure.

To understand the possible routes that decentralized energy should be following it is essential to take into account the opinion of decision makers of the industry, from manufacturers, developers, funders, customers and policy makers. To transform their opinions on business models paths, the Multi Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) method was chosen. Firstly the decision makers will answer a questionnaire that will show their biases regarding different variables of energy infrastructure then, these biases will be transformed on paths of preferences clear enough to model structures of business.

On the other hand, from the existent literature of decentralized energy infrastructure, possible structures conceived by industry and academia will be drawn, accompanied by their respective financial models.
Finally, the thought paths by the new stakeholders will be confronted with the current proposed structures for the future decentralized energy infrastructure. The aim of this exercise is to have a better understanding of the probable trajectories of the low carbon decentralized energy infrastructure in the future.


Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.