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Factors influencing the residence’s intention to adopt solar photovoltaic technology: a case study from Klang Valley, Malaysia

Factors influencing the residence’s intention to adopt solar photovoltaic technology: a case... Factors Influencing the Intention to Adopt Photovoltaic Technology in Klang Valley, Malaysia Independent Mediator Dependent variable variable Perceived Ease of Use Malaysia Solar PV Framework a) Environmentalism 1 Intention to adopt b) Knowledge Highest potential as Perceived Approximately 96% of Usefulness Malaysia located Peninsular Malaysia’s within equatorial electricity attained region. from fossil fuel. Residents who have greater belief on environment protection have greater Despite government Ministry of Economic intention to use solar PV in Malaysia. Affairs predicted that efforts, installed Discussion capacity of solar PV Lacking in experience and knowledge were Malaysia’s oil and gas the barriers that deter to the resident’s low among residents reserves will be (9.14MV). solar PV adoption in Malaysia depleted by 2029 Residents minded that the use of solar PV is required high level effort. The policy makers must take initiatives in campaign that providing accurate information and environment education among residents. Keywords: determinants of public acceptance for solar PV; public acceptance; residence intention; solar; solar PV Because Malaysia is strategically located in the equatorial Introduction region, solar energy has the highest potential of any renew- Energy is a vital component of both economic development able energy source [10]. Malaysia is exposed to solar radiation and human sustainability [1]. According to the US Energy for more than 6 hours per day on average (i.e. 400–600 MJ/m / Information Administration, the world will continue to month), making it an ideal choice for using solar PV tech- supply nearly 80% of its energy from non-renewable re- nologies [11]. Peninsular Malaysia has >4.12 million buildings sources until 2040 [2]. Malaysia will be no exception. The with a high potential to install solar PV and generate ~34 194 country heavily relies on coal, natural gas and petroleum megawatts (MW) [12]. Therefore, solar PV could be developed [3], to name a few, despite having various renewable- as a source of electricity in Malaysia. energy sources such as hydro, wind, biomass and solar The Malaysian government also has introduced a series energy [4]. Because the government subsidizes conven- of programmes and policies to promote solar PV. For in- tional electricity-generation sources, the economic barrier stance, due to the high initial adoption cost, the Feed-in has reduced the competitiveness of green electricity gen- Tariff (FiT) 2011 and Net Energy Metering scheme (NEM) eration [5, 6]. Only in 2016, ~96% of Peninsular Malaysia’s 2016 provided financial relief to solar PV users as subsidies. electricity generation was derived from the use of fossil The FiT programme granted solar PV owners a licence to fuels [4]. profit from selling generated electricity to Tenaga National Another critical issue related to fossil-fuel reliance is Berhad (TNB) [13]. The FiT programme was later replaced the depletion of domestic reserves. The Malaysian Ministry by the NEM scheme, which granted the right to sell excess of Economic Affairs predicted that the country’s oil and electricity back to TNB after it has been used. In 2019, the gas reserves would be depleted by 2029. Consequently, NEM was upgraded to NEM 2.0, with a ‘one-on-one’ offset the government was forced to import fossil fuel, which basis, allowing users to sell excess electricity at the same was influenced by its world prices and exchange rate. The rate rather than displaced cost as in the previous NEM [14]. Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Despite the government’s efforts on solar PV initiatives, Climate Change has announced 20% renewable-energy the installed PV capacity for the residential sector (9.14 targets in the generation mix by 2025 [7]. The government MV) remains the smallest after the commercial (25.60 MW) also has introduced renewable energy in the Fifth-Fuel and industrial sectors (355.76 MW) [15]. Diversification Policy under the 8th Malaysia Plan 2001 [8]. Previous studies revealed insufficient coverage of resi- As of 2019, renewable energy generation was recorded at dents’ acceptance and intention to adopt solar PV. Little ~2% of the total generation mix [9]. Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/ce/article/5/3/464/6352424 by DeepDyve user on 17 August 2021 466 | Clean Energy, 2021, Vol. 5, No. 3 is known about how solar PV adoption could help resolve technology acceptance [34] and has proven to be a valu- climate change, unemployment and the energy crisis able model in explaining residents’ consent to renewable [16]. Several studies have recently discussed the current energy [35, 36]. TAM was developed from the Theory of and future status of solar energy [11 17 , ]. The majority of Planned Behaviour and the Theory of Reasoned Action. these studies used a survey with an experimental inves- Davis [33] originally discovered TAM by using the PEU and tigation method to assess user acceptance of renewable PU as predictors of behavioural intention to adopt new in- energies [17] and solar PV [18]. Other research provided novative technology. Several studies have suggested that a systematic review of the predictors of renewable user PU is one of the best predictors of user behavioural inten- acceptance. For example, Alipour et al.19 [ ] examined the tion to adopt [33, 37]. The meta-analysis by King and He predictors of residential solar PV adoption, while Qazi [38] proved the validity and robustness of TAM and con- et  al. [20] conducted a similar review of 42 high-quality cluded that it is the most widely used model. papers. Their findings revealed that a lack of public While some studies have demonstrated TAM’s suit- awareness had hampered user acceptance of renewable- ability in analysing public acceptance of solar PV [39 40 , ], energy technologies. the research in Malaysia’s context is scarce. For instance, Furthermore, some studies emphasized a review of Ahmad et  al. [25] have adopted the original TAM. They renewable-energy adoption and government policies ra- demonstrated that PEU and PU play a significant role in ther than the empirical analysis of solar PV adoption [21, solar PV. On the other hand, TAM has limitations because 22]. Their research indicated the potential and applic- it cannot reflect various user task environments and con- ability of renewable energy and concluded that aggres- straints [41]. Several researchers [8 42 , ] proposed extending sive renewable-energy policies are required. Consequently, TAM with predictors to provide a solid model. Knowledge those studies revealed a need for a gap in the lack of sys- has proved to be one of the most common predictors of tematic analysis on predictors’ impacts on Malaysian user behavioural intention to adopt renewable energy residents’ intention to adopt solar PV. The technology ac- [29, 43]. Adjakloe et al. [44] demonstrated the ability to ex- ceptance model (TAM) is widely used in research on resi- tend TAM and reported a significant relationship between dents’ preferences to adopt renewable technology [23] and knowledge and availability regarding users’ adoption of solar PV [24]. According to Ahmad et al. [25], TAM is a robust renewable energy. and well-recognized model for explaining the relationship Furthermore, Schelly and Letzelter [45] revealed that between predictors and user intention to adopt solar PV. residents’ adoption decisions are influenced more by en- Studies from Western countries investigated the impact vironmental than economic factors. Although TAM is a of determinants on user intention to adopt [26]. However, widely adopted model in user technology acceptance due to social, economic and political factors, their find- studies, there was an argument on whether the model ings cannot be generalized to developing countries [25]. alone could predict user technology acceptance [46]. Most Legris et al. proposed broadening the TAM by incorporating studies have also recommended user environmentalism’s human and social variables [27]. The public’s decision to effects on adopting renewable technology [47, 48]. use solar PV was frequently influenced by environmental However, the impact of environmentalism was frequently concerns [28]. A user’s intention to adopt a solar panel in overlooked. Studies examining the mediation effect of Malaysia may be hampered by a lack of environmentalism PEU and PU on the relationship between environmen- and knowledge factors [29]. The public that values the en- talism and the intention to adopt solar PV in Malaysia are vironment tends to spend more money on environmen- limited. Hence, Wu et al. [49] suggested extending environ- tally friendly products because it improves their overall mentalism as an external predictor in TAM. Therefore, this health and meets modern society’s expectations [30]. study will incorporate knowledge and environmentalism Furthermore, a lack of awareness is a barrier to the as the TAM model’s additional constructs to examine these growth of renewable energy [31]. The user is demotiv- antecedents’ relationship towards the intention to adopt ated due to having limited knowledge and information solar PV. regarding solar energy [32]. Under these circumstances, TAM is vital in the framework of this study, as it dem- it could become a significant impediment to Malaysians onstrates a significant relationship between the predictors adopting solar PV. Therefore, it is essential to investigate (environmentalism and knowledge) and the intention to the impact of environmentalism and knowledge on resi- adopt. This study extended the TAM to study the medi- dents’ intention to adopt solar PV, as well as the mediating ation effect of PEU and PU associated with the predictors effect of perceived usefulness (PU) and perceived ease of and the intent to adopt. The model could also examine the use (PEU) [33]. relationship between the external variables towards the PEU, PU and the intention to adopt [824 , ]. This study im- plemented the extended TAM to investigate the residents’ 1 Research framework intention to adopt solar PV. Thus, a proposed research TAM was used in this study to assess residents’ solar PV framework (Fig. 1) is developed based on the findings of acceptance behaviour. TAM is widely used to study user previous studies. Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/ce/article/5/3/464/6352424 by DeepDyve user on 17 August 2021 Cheam et al. | 467 psychologically [57]. According to the diffusion-of-innovation 1.1 Environmentalism theory, knowledge increases users’ intention to adopt a Previous studies have revealed a significant relationship be- product [58] and lack of knowledge contributes to uncer - tween environmentalism and behavioural intention [39 49 , ]. tainty and user rejection [59]. Previous research has focused The deterioration of environmental quality (i.e. ozone-layer on the relationship between knowledge and users’ intention depletion, carbon emissions, river pollution and the green- to adopt. According to AlSanad [60], adequate knowledge is house effect) has gradually increased user awareness of required for the user to demand sustainable construction. green technology [50]. Users’ willingness to use green tech- The knowledge improves consumers’ understanding of nology is frequently linked to their environmental concerns environmental protection and the benefits of investing in [49, 51]. Environmentalism consumers in developing coun- renewable-energy technology, such as solar PV [61]. tries are willing to pay more for renewable energy, resulting In contrast, a lack of knowledge on environmental in adopting renewable energy [52]. According to Mohd issues, costs and the non-monetary benefits of solar PV Suki [53], a green attitude inspires the user to use a green would contribute to cost barriers [62]. Several studies have product. Surprisingly, Jayaraman et al. [3] discovered a nega- found a significant correlation between knowledge and tive relationship between environmentalism and purchase purchase intention [49, 63, 64]. Therefore, the following hy- intent. As the relationship between environmentalism and pothesis was proposed based on the previous studies: behavioural intentions to adopt solar PV is worth exam- ining, hence the hypothesis was formed below: H1b: There is a strong correlation between know- ledge and the intent to adopt solar PV. H1a: There is a significant relationship between en- vironmentalism and the intention to adopt Furthermore, knowledge, as an independent variable, solar PV. directly and indirectly, impacts the user’s intention to adopt new technology [56]. Arpaci [65] demonstrated that On the other hand, Wu et  al. [ 49] stated that environ- the indirect effect of PU is related to knowledge and the mental concerns substantially impact the use of electric ve- intention to adopt. Kardooni et al. [8] found that PU signifi- hicles via mediating effects. Ahmad et al.54 [ ] also revealed a cantly mediated the relationship between knowledge and weak positive relationship between environmentalism and adopting renewable energy. Nonetheless, the study found green-purchase intention. PEU [49] and PU [23, 49] have a that PEU does not act as a bridge between knowledge and mediation effect on environmentalism and green-purchase renewable energy. Thus, the following hypotheses were intention. People believe that using solar PV may help them formulated to identify the mediation effect of PEU and PU to improve their environmental performance. Thus, two hy- between the knowledge and intention to adopt solar PV: potheses were proposed in this study: H2b: The PEU mediates the relationship between H2a: The PEU mediates the relationship between envir - knowledge and the intention to adopt solar PV. onmentalism and the intention to adopt solar PV. H3b: The PU mediates the relationship between H3a: The PU mediates the relationship between envir - knowledge and the intention to adopt solar PV. onmentalism and the intention to adopt solar PV. 2 Research methodology 1.2 Knowledge 2.1 Sampling design Knowledge is an essential factor influencing users’ adop- tion decisions for technology, either directly or indirectly For data collection, this study employed a quantitative ap- [55, 56], because it affects user acceptance of a technology proach and a questionnaire. The current study targeted Independent Dependent Mediator variable variable Perceived Ease of Use a) Environmentalism Intention to adopt b) Knowledge Perceived Usefulness Fig. 1: A research framework Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/ce/article/5/3/464/6352424 by DeepDyve user on 17 August 2021 468 | Clean Energy, 2021, Vol. 5, No. 3 residents who are not solar PV users so that the intentions Table 1. Sources of items and insight from potential users could be gained [66 3, ]. The Items Sources Department of Statistics Malaysia stated that the working age ranged from 15 to 64  years [67]. However, some indi- Environmentalism (EN) EN1, EN2, EN3 Ahn et al. [48] viduals would pursue tertiary education and start working EN4, EN5 Park et al. [71] at the age of 20 years. Hence, this study targeted working Knowledge (K) adults in Klang Valley who are non-solar PV users. Since K1, K2 Wang et al. [72] there are no government or related authority records on K3, K4 Park et al. [71] the sampling frame, the study used a purposive sampling Perceived ease of use (PEU) method to infer the population better. PEU1, PEU2, PEU3 Park et al. [71] The sampling location was in commercial areas near Perceived usefulness (PU) shopping malls in Klang Valley and Malaysia’s most con- PU1, PU2 Park et al. [71] gested [68] and developed central city [69]. The location was PU3 Feng [73] selected as it is easier to get in touch with the residents Intention to adopt (INT) and they are financially capable of installing solar PV com- INT1, INT2 Park et al. [71] INT3, INT4, INT5 Kim et al. [74] pared to the suburban residents. Klang Valley incorporated both heterogeneous individuals and homogeneous groups to represent the country [70]. Therefore, the questionnaire Table 2. Respondents’ demographic profiles distribution began with a verbal introduction to the -cur Demographic profile Frequency Percentage rent research goal and voluntarily. This study successfully collected 207 of the 220 questionnaires distributed to par - Gender Male 91 45.5 ticipants. However, only 200 usable questionnaires repre- Female 109 54.5 senting a 90% response rate were analysed in this research. Marital Single 159 79.5 status Married 41 20.5 Others 0 0 2.2 Analysis method Age 21–30 99 49.5 31–40 66 33 The research questionnaire was divided into two sections: 41–50 10 5 A  (including demographic information) and B, which 51–60 19 9.5 measured the constructs. Section A consisted of 10 ques- 61+ 6 3 tions related to the respondent’s gender, marital status, Race Malay 62 31 age, race, education level, occupation, household size, Chinese 82 41 monthly electricity bill, monthly income and house types. Indian 49 24.5 Section B consisted of five constructs: environmentalism, Others 7 3.5 knowledge, PEU, PU and the intention to adopt—a total Education No formal education 0 0 level Primary schooling 1 0.5 of 20 items. Section B utilized a five-point Likert scale to Secondary schooling 21 10.5 measure things with a range between 1 (strongly disagree) Diploma/Certificate 25 12.5 and 5 (strongly agree). T able 1 lists the sources of the items Bachelor’s degree 126 63 used to measure the constructs. Master’s and above 27 13.5 Table 2 summarizes the demographic profiles of 200 Monthly elec<RM100 - 42 21 participants, including their gender, marital status, age, tricity fees race, level of education, household size, monthly in- (Ringgit RM101–RM200 74 37 come and monthly electricity fees. Approximately 54.5% Malaysia RM201–RM300 48 24 were female and the remaining were male respond- (RM)) RM301–RM400 17 8.5 ents. Nearly half of the respondents (49%) were between >RM400 19 9.5 the ages of 21 and 30  years, while more than a quarter Monthly <RM2000 38 19 income RM2001–RM4000 93 46.5 (33%) were aged between 31 and 40  years, followed by RM4001–RM6000 29 14.5 those aged between 41 and 50  years (5%), between 51 RM6001–RM8000 15 7.5 and 60 years (9.5%) and ≥60 years old (6%). Furthermore, >RM8000 25 12.5 nearly four-fifths of the respondents were single (79.5%), with the remainder married (20.5%). The respondents had different levels of education, beginning with primary was <RM100 (21%), 19 respondents paid >RM400 (9.5%) school (0.5%), followed by secondary school (10.5%), cer - and finally 17 respondents paid between RM301 and tificate or diploma (12.5%), bachelor’s degree (63%) and RM400 (8.5%). Ninety-three of those polled had a monthly master’s and above (13.5%). The highest monthly electri- income of between RM2001 and RM4000 (46.5%), 19% city fee paid by 74 respondents was between RM101 and had <RM2000, 14.5% had between RM4001 and RM6000, RM200 (37%), followed by 48 respondents (from RM201 12.5% had >RM8000 and 7.5% had a monthly income of to RM300) (24%), 42 respondents’ monthly electricity fee between RM6001 and RM8000. Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/ce/article/5/3/464/6352424 by DeepDyve user on 17 August 2021 Cheam et al. | 469 The current study applied partial least square structural The internal consistency reliability of all constructs dem- equation modelling (PLS-SEM) analysis using SmartPLS onstrated a sufficient level. Version 3 software to examine the research framework The Fornell–Larcker, cross-loading and Heterotrait- and proposed hypotheses. A  total of five constructs were monotrait (HTMT) criterion tests were performed to assess included. The partial least squares (PLS) algorithm and discriminant validity. The factor loading of each item was bootstrapping technique were used to evaluate meas- more significant than its cross-loading value. The Fornell– urement and structural models. The assessment of the Larcker criterion was tested using the square root of the measurement model incorporated a combination of the AVE. Among the correlation values of the constructs, the reliability, convergent validity and discriminant validity of square root of the AVE had the highest values (see Table 4). the constructs [75]. The structure model tested the path Meanwhile, Table 5 shows that all values were less than coefficient, effect size and T-statistics based on the re- the threshold value of 0.85 [79]. Therefore, it is possible to search framework by Hair et al. [75]. conclude that discriminant validity was established. Additionally, Table 6 demonstrates the path co- efficient analysis of the hypotheses. All hypotheses 3 Findings were tested based on the significance level of α = 0.05. Environmentalism (0.284) had the most significant im- The reliability, convergent validity and discriminant val- pact on adoption intention, followed by knowledge (0.241) idity tests for each construct are shown in Table 3. Since (Table 6). Thus, H1a and H1b are proven: most item loadings exceeded the threshold value of 0.7 [75], all 19 item loadings were retained. Nonetheless, the H1a: There is a significant relationship between en- factor loading for item EA2 was 0.47, which was less than vironmentalism and the intention to adopt the threshold value. The convergent validity—the average solar PV. variance extracted (AVE) of the construct—was used to H1b: There is a significant relationship between analyse the items with external loading values ranging knowledge and the intention to adopt solar PV. from 0.4 to 0.7 [76]. All constructs had AVE values of >0.5, Furthermore, T able 5 shows that PU mediated a positive which supports the convergent validity of the construct relationship between environmentalism (0.051) and know- [76]. Therefore, all items were retained and the concurrent ledge (0.195) in terms of adoption intention. However, PEU validity of each construct was established. did not. Hence, H2a and H2b were rejected. H3a and H3b Cronbach’s α and composite reliability (CR) were also were supported based on the mediating effect of PU on used to assess the internal consistency reliability. Most solar PV adoption: of the constructs (environmentalism, knowledge, PU and the intention to adopt) met the 0.7 Cronbach’s α threshold H3a: The PU mediates the relationship between envir - value. The CR was moderate [77] and satisfactory [78] onmentalism and the intention to adopt solar PV. when the PEU Cronbach’s α value was between 0.5 and 0.7. H3b: The PU mediates the relationship between All construct CR values >0.76 and <0.70 were acceptable. knowledge and the intention to adopt solar PV. Table 3. Convergent validity and consistent internal reliability Factor loading and reliability Construct Items Factor loading Cronbach’s α CR AVE Environmentalism (EN) EN1 0.82 0.87 0.91 0.71 EN2 0.85 EN3 0.87 EN4 0.83 Knowledge (K) K1 0.65 0.80 0.86 0.55 K2 0.78 K3 0.70 K4 0.80 K5 0.77 Perceived ease of use (PEU) EA1 0.85 0.57 0.76 0.52 EA2 0.47 EA3 0.80 Perceived usefulness (PU) U1 0.84 0.82 0.89 0.74 U2 0.88 U3 0.86 Intention to adopt (INT) INT1 0.79 0.81 0.87 0.64 INT2 0.85 INT3 0.74 INT4 0.81 Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/ce/article/5/3/464/6352424 by DeepDyve user on 17 August 2021 470 | Clean Energy, 2021, Vol. 5, No. 3 Table 4. Fornell–Larcker criterion has no apparent influence on the user’s decision to use the new technology. Respondents believe that adopting solar Construct PEU EN INT K PU PV required a significant amount of effort. Another possi- Perceived ease of use (PEU) 0.7242 bility is that users would tolerate the convenience of using Environmentalism (EN) 0.0793 0.8445 solar PV in exchange for environmental sustainability. PEU Intention to adopt (INT) 0.2863 0.4626 0.7977 does not mediate the relationship between knowledge and Knowledge (K) 0.4298 0.2931 0.5300 0.7423 the intention to adopt. In other words, an increased under - Perceived usefulness (PU) 0.4408 0.2806 0.5926 0.5439 0.8578 standing would not affect users’ perceptions of the ease with which solar PV could be used; hence, the intention to adopt took place. Table 5. Heterotrait-monotrait values The findings were consistent with those of Kardooni Construct PEU EN INT K PU et al. [8], who proposed that people’s perceptions of using renewable energy were limited. This finding could be ex- Perceived ease of use (PEU) plained by the residents’ lack of user experience and solar Environmentalism (EN) 0.1589 Intention to adopt (INT) 0.3900 0.5374 PV knowledge. Surprisingly, PEU did not correlate with the Knowledge (K) 0.4298 0.2931 0.6231 relationship between the predictors and the intention to Perceived usefulness (PU) 0.6207 0.3208 0.7110 0.6593 adopt. These findings suggested that the participants were aware that solar PV was challenging to use and required a high level of effort. As a result, it was concluded that re- Table 6. Structural model results lated organizations and media (e.g. newspapers, television Path or radio) might not effectively communicate solar PV infor - coeffi- mation to users [81]. Hypothesis Path cients P-value T-statistics Results On the other hand, PU mediated the positive relation- H1a EN → INT 0.284 0.000 4.97 Supported ship between environmentalism and the intention to H1b K → INT 0.241 0.001 3.28 Supported adopt, which is consistent with Wu et  al.’s findings [49]. H2a EN → PEU 0.001 0.936 0.08 Rejected Residents who care more about the environment will no- → INT tice that solar PV provides more benefits, and will thus H3a EN → PU 0.051 0.039 2.07 Supported have a greater tendency to use it. Also, PU mediates a → INT positive relationship between knowledge and the inten- H2b K → PEU –0.004 0.903 0.12 Rejected tion to adopt. Respondents believe that understanding the → INT technology will increase their perception of the benefits H3b K → PU → 0.195 0.000 3.74 Supported of using solar PV. Kardooni et al. [8] found that renewable- INT energy knowledge influenced user intention to adopt. 4 Discussion 4.1 Policy implications Overall, the construct findings revealed that both know- Policymakers and solar PV practitioners are required to ledge and environmentalism significantly positively im- implement several policies to improve solar PV adop- pact the intention to adopt. However, environmentalism tion. As per the current study, environmentally con- has a more substantial positive impact. The pattern im- scious users believe that solar PV is more beneficial plies that Malaysians who have self-assurance in envir - to the users with low environmentalism. However, onmental protection prefer to use solar PV. According to Malaysian’s environmental awareness remains low Bashiri and Alizadeh [63], users concerned about the en- [82], despite the Malaysian government’s efforts to pro- vironment were more likely to accept solar PV as they be- mote environmental education through initiatives such lieved solar PV could help to reduce pollution. Aziz et  al. as global education in collaboration with the World [29] reported a contradictory finding, claiming that envir - Wildlife Fund and eco-schools. The current policy served onmentalism has no impact on green-energy-purchase in- as a long-term policy, requiring a minimum age of tention and has no significant effect on users’ purchase 18  years for the younger generation to join the labour intention. However, knowledge significantly affects the force and participate in environmental protection ac- intention to adopt, as reported by Kardooni et  al. [8] and tivities. Strengthening the legislation is one option for Malik et  al. [64]. To summarize, knowledge increased resi- encouraging residents to be environmentally aware. For dents’ intention to use solar PV. Residents in Malaysia were example, the government could emphasize the nation’s discouraged from adopting solar PV due to a lack of experi- ban on single-use plastics and lower the manufacturers’ ence and information [29]. waste-production target. These policies would aid in Furthermore, PEU was unable to mediate the relation- establishing a more environmentally friendly environ- ship between environmentalism and the intention to ment, thereby shaping people’s awareness. adopt. This finding was supported by Chen [80] that PEU Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/ce/article/5/3/464/6352424 by DeepDyve user on 17 August 2021 Cheam et al. | 471 Meanwhile, knowledge and PU are positively related Initially, the findings revealed that residents’ intentions to solar PV installation. Residents with a higher level of to adopt solar PV were positively influenced by environ- knowledge believe that solar PV benefits them and they mentalism and knowledge. Second, when compared to are more likely to install it. This finding showed the in- knowledge, environmentalism has a more decisive impact significant mediation of PEU between predictors and the on the intention to adopt. This study broadened know- intention to adopt. The residents believe that solar PV re- ledge by assessing environmentalism and knowledge on quires much effort, reflecting their lack of knowledge and residents’ intention to adopt solar PV. Third, the literature experience with solar PV. The Malaysian energy commis- review revealed that no study had examined the impact sion and solar-market practitioners should increase their of environmentalism on Malaysian adoption intentions. efforts to provide accurate information to residents, as em- Finally, this study demonstrated the indirect effects of PU phasizing the economic benefits alone will not be enough between environmentalism and the intention to adopt to encourage solar PV adoption. Therefore, this study pro- solar PV. As a result, this research showed the direct and vided an empirical analysis and discussion of the findings, indirect influence of environmentalism on residents’ deci- intending to improve the implemented renewable-energy sions to use solar PV. policies and the residents’ living conditions. Furthermore, the study found a significant relationship Previous research has identified the factors that influ- between environmentalism, knowledge and PU mediation ence user intent to adopt solar PV [26]. However, infor - towards residents’ willingness to use solar PV. The findings mation on the disparity in residents’ solar PV intention revealed information and knowledge gaps on solar PV use, between developed and developing countries is limited raising concerns about the usefulness of solar PV rather [25]. Hence, the findings are hard to implement for the than its ease of use. Policymakers must launch campaigns latter. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations coun- to provide accurate information and environmental edu- tries, such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, cation to residents. Consequently, using an extended TAM have set goals to increase solar PV installation and the model, we recognized the predictors that influence users’ proportion of renewable energy in the energy mix [83]. intention to adopt solar PV. Although solar PV development Policymakers could use the information to develop more takes time and effort, effective policies and collaboration effective policies to increase user adoption of solar PV, among stakeholders could accelerate public acceptance, as well as future researchers to identify the external thus achieving the nation’s renewable-energy goal. factors that influence the use of solar PV in developing countries. Conflict of Interest Lastly, the questionnaire was only limited to Klang None declared. Valley residents, so the outcomes could not be generalized to all Malaysians. It is suggested that future researchers should broaden their sample size in Malaysia. Besides, References the current study focuses on user acceptance of solar PV; [1] Sulub  YA, Hamid  Z, Nazri  MN. Renewable energy supply hence, the research framework should be expanded to in- and economic growth in Malaysia: an application of bounds clude actual user adoption. testing and causality analysis. 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Factors influencing the residence’s intention to adopt solar photovoltaic technology: a case study from Klang Valley, Malaysia

Clean Energy , Volume 5 (3) – Sep 1, 2021

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Copyright © 2021 National Institute of Clean-and-Low-Carbon Energy
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Abstract

Factors Influencing the Intention to Adopt Photovoltaic Technology in Klang Valley, Malaysia Independent Mediator Dependent variable variable Perceived Ease of Use Malaysia Solar PV Framework a) Environmentalism 1 Intention to adopt b) Knowledge Highest potential as Perceived Approximately 96% of Usefulness Malaysia located Peninsular Malaysia’s within equatorial electricity attained region. from fossil fuel. Residents who have greater belief on environment protection have greater Despite government Ministry of Economic intention to use solar PV in Malaysia. Affairs predicted that efforts, installed Discussion capacity of solar PV Lacking in experience and knowledge were Malaysia’s oil and gas the barriers that deter to the resident’s low among residents reserves will be (9.14MV). solar PV adoption in Malaysia depleted by 2029 Residents minded that the use of solar PV is required high level effort. The policy makers must take initiatives in campaign that providing accurate information and environment education among residents. Keywords: determinants of public acceptance for solar PV; public acceptance; residence intention; solar; solar PV Because Malaysia is strategically located in the equatorial Introduction region, solar energy has the highest potential of any renew- Energy is a vital component of both economic development able energy source [10]. Malaysia is exposed to solar radiation and human sustainability [1]. According to the US Energy for more than 6 hours per day on average (i.e. 400–600 MJ/m / Information Administration, the world will continue to month), making it an ideal choice for using solar PV tech- supply nearly 80% of its energy from non-renewable re- nologies [11]. Peninsular Malaysia has >4.12 million buildings sources until 2040 [2]. Malaysia will be no exception. The with a high potential to install solar PV and generate ~34 194 country heavily relies on coal, natural gas and petroleum megawatts (MW) [12]. Therefore, solar PV could be developed [3], to name a few, despite having various renewable- as a source of electricity in Malaysia. energy sources such as hydro, wind, biomass and solar The Malaysian government also has introduced a series energy [4]. Because the government subsidizes conven- of programmes and policies to promote solar PV. For in- tional electricity-generation sources, the economic barrier stance, due to the high initial adoption cost, the Feed-in has reduced the competitiveness of green electricity gen- Tariff (FiT) 2011 and Net Energy Metering scheme (NEM) eration [5, 6]. Only in 2016, ~96% of Peninsular Malaysia’s 2016 provided financial relief to solar PV users as subsidies. electricity generation was derived from the use of fossil The FiT programme granted solar PV owners a licence to fuels [4]. profit from selling generated electricity to Tenaga National Another critical issue related to fossil-fuel reliance is Berhad (TNB) [13]. The FiT programme was later replaced the depletion of domestic reserves. The Malaysian Ministry by the NEM scheme, which granted the right to sell excess of Economic Affairs predicted that the country’s oil and electricity back to TNB after it has been used. In 2019, the gas reserves would be depleted by 2029. Consequently, NEM was upgraded to NEM 2.0, with a ‘one-on-one’ offset the government was forced to import fossil fuel, which basis, allowing users to sell excess electricity at the same was influenced by its world prices and exchange rate. The rate rather than displaced cost as in the previous NEM [14]. Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Despite the government’s efforts on solar PV initiatives, Climate Change has announced 20% renewable-energy the installed PV capacity for the residential sector (9.14 targets in the generation mix by 2025 [7]. The government MV) remains the smallest after the commercial (25.60 MW) also has introduced renewable energy in the Fifth-Fuel and industrial sectors (355.76 MW) [15]. Diversification Policy under the 8th Malaysia Plan 2001 [8]. Previous studies revealed insufficient coverage of resi- As of 2019, renewable energy generation was recorded at dents’ acceptance and intention to adopt solar PV. Little ~2% of the total generation mix [9]. Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/ce/article/5/3/464/6352424 by DeepDyve user on 17 August 2021 466 | Clean Energy, 2021, Vol. 5, No. 3 is known about how solar PV adoption could help resolve technology acceptance [34] and has proven to be a valu- climate change, unemployment and the energy crisis able model in explaining residents’ consent to renewable [16]. Several studies have recently discussed the current energy [35, 36]. TAM was developed from the Theory of and future status of solar energy [11 17 , ]. The majority of Planned Behaviour and the Theory of Reasoned Action. these studies used a survey with an experimental inves- Davis [33] originally discovered TAM by using the PEU and tigation method to assess user acceptance of renewable PU as predictors of behavioural intention to adopt new in- energies [17] and solar PV [18]. Other research provided novative technology. Several studies have suggested that a systematic review of the predictors of renewable user PU is one of the best predictors of user behavioural inten- acceptance. For example, Alipour et al.19 [ ] examined the tion to adopt [33, 37]. The meta-analysis by King and He predictors of residential solar PV adoption, while Qazi [38] proved the validity and robustness of TAM and con- et  al. [20] conducted a similar review of 42 high-quality cluded that it is the most widely used model. papers. Their findings revealed that a lack of public While some studies have demonstrated TAM’s suit- awareness had hampered user acceptance of renewable- ability in analysing public acceptance of solar PV [39 40 , ], energy technologies. the research in Malaysia’s context is scarce. For instance, Furthermore, some studies emphasized a review of Ahmad et  al. [25] have adopted the original TAM. They renewable-energy adoption and government policies ra- demonstrated that PEU and PU play a significant role in ther than the empirical analysis of solar PV adoption [21, solar PV. On the other hand, TAM has limitations because 22]. Their research indicated the potential and applic- it cannot reflect various user task environments and con- ability of renewable energy and concluded that aggres- straints [41]. Several researchers [8 42 , ] proposed extending sive renewable-energy policies are required. Consequently, TAM with predictors to provide a solid model. Knowledge those studies revealed a need for a gap in the lack of sys- has proved to be one of the most common predictors of tematic analysis on predictors’ impacts on Malaysian user behavioural intention to adopt renewable energy residents’ intention to adopt solar PV. The technology ac- [29, 43]. Adjakloe et al. [44] demonstrated the ability to ex- ceptance model (TAM) is widely used in research on resi- tend TAM and reported a significant relationship between dents’ preferences to adopt renewable technology [23] and knowledge and availability regarding users’ adoption of solar PV [24]. According to Ahmad et al. [25], TAM is a robust renewable energy. and well-recognized model for explaining the relationship Furthermore, Schelly and Letzelter [45] revealed that between predictors and user intention to adopt solar PV. residents’ adoption decisions are influenced more by en- Studies from Western countries investigated the impact vironmental than economic factors. Although TAM is a of determinants on user intention to adopt [26]. However, widely adopted model in user technology acceptance due to social, economic and political factors, their find- studies, there was an argument on whether the model ings cannot be generalized to developing countries [25]. alone could predict user technology acceptance [46]. Most Legris et al. proposed broadening the TAM by incorporating studies have also recommended user environmentalism’s human and social variables [27]. The public’s decision to effects on adopting renewable technology [47, 48]. use solar PV was frequently influenced by environmental However, the impact of environmentalism was frequently concerns [28]. A user’s intention to adopt a solar panel in overlooked. Studies examining the mediation effect of Malaysia may be hampered by a lack of environmentalism PEU and PU on the relationship between environmen- and knowledge factors [29]. The public that values the en- talism and the intention to adopt solar PV in Malaysia are vironment tends to spend more money on environmen- limited. Hence, Wu et al. [49] suggested extending environ- tally friendly products because it improves their overall mentalism as an external predictor in TAM. Therefore, this health and meets modern society’s expectations [30]. study will incorporate knowledge and environmentalism Furthermore, a lack of awareness is a barrier to the as the TAM model’s additional constructs to examine these growth of renewable energy [31]. The user is demotiv- antecedents’ relationship towards the intention to adopt ated due to having limited knowledge and information solar PV. regarding solar energy [32]. Under these circumstances, TAM is vital in the framework of this study, as it dem- it could become a significant impediment to Malaysians onstrates a significant relationship between the predictors adopting solar PV. Therefore, it is essential to investigate (environmentalism and knowledge) and the intention to the impact of environmentalism and knowledge on resi- adopt. This study extended the TAM to study the medi- dents’ intention to adopt solar PV, as well as the mediating ation effect of PEU and PU associated with the predictors effect of perceived usefulness (PU) and perceived ease of and the intent to adopt. The model could also examine the use (PEU) [33]. relationship between the external variables towards the PEU, PU and the intention to adopt [824 , ]. This study im- plemented the extended TAM to investigate the residents’ 1 Research framework intention to adopt solar PV. Thus, a proposed research TAM was used in this study to assess residents’ solar PV framework (Fig. 1) is developed based on the findings of acceptance behaviour. TAM is widely used to study user previous studies. Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/ce/article/5/3/464/6352424 by DeepDyve user on 17 August 2021 Cheam et al. | 467 psychologically [57]. According to the diffusion-of-innovation 1.1 Environmentalism theory, knowledge increases users’ intention to adopt a Previous studies have revealed a significant relationship be- product [58] and lack of knowledge contributes to uncer - tween environmentalism and behavioural intention [39 49 , ]. tainty and user rejection [59]. Previous research has focused The deterioration of environmental quality (i.e. ozone-layer on the relationship between knowledge and users’ intention depletion, carbon emissions, river pollution and the green- to adopt. According to AlSanad [60], adequate knowledge is house effect) has gradually increased user awareness of required for the user to demand sustainable construction. green technology [50]. Users’ willingness to use green tech- The knowledge improves consumers’ understanding of nology is frequently linked to their environmental concerns environmental protection and the benefits of investing in [49, 51]. Environmentalism consumers in developing coun- renewable-energy technology, such as solar PV [61]. tries are willing to pay more for renewable energy, resulting In contrast, a lack of knowledge on environmental in adopting renewable energy [52]. According to Mohd issues, costs and the non-monetary benefits of solar PV Suki [53], a green attitude inspires the user to use a green would contribute to cost barriers [62]. Several studies have product. Surprisingly, Jayaraman et al. [3] discovered a nega- found a significant correlation between knowledge and tive relationship between environmentalism and purchase purchase intention [49, 63, 64]. Therefore, the following hy- intent. As the relationship between environmentalism and pothesis was proposed based on the previous studies: behavioural intentions to adopt solar PV is worth exam- ining, hence the hypothesis was formed below: H1b: There is a strong correlation between know- ledge and the intent to adopt solar PV. H1a: There is a significant relationship between en- vironmentalism and the intention to adopt Furthermore, knowledge, as an independent variable, solar PV. directly and indirectly, impacts the user’s intention to adopt new technology [56]. Arpaci [65] demonstrated that On the other hand, Wu et  al. [ 49] stated that environ- the indirect effect of PU is related to knowledge and the mental concerns substantially impact the use of electric ve- intention to adopt. Kardooni et al. [8] found that PU signifi- hicles via mediating effects. Ahmad et al.54 [ ] also revealed a cantly mediated the relationship between knowledge and weak positive relationship between environmentalism and adopting renewable energy. Nonetheless, the study found green-purchase intention. PEU [49] and PU [23, 49] have a that PEU does not act as a bridge between knowledge and mediation effect on environmentalism and green-purchase renewable energy. Thus, the following hypotheses were intention. People believe that using solar PV may help them formulated to identify the mediation effect of PEU and PU to improve their environmental performance. Thus, two hy- between the knowledge and intention to adopt solar PV: potheses were proposed in this study: H2b: The PEU mediates the relationship between H2a: The PEU mediates the relationship between envir - knowledge and the intention to adopt solar PV. onmentalism and the intention to adopt solar PV. H3b: The PU mediates the relationship between H3a: The PU mediates the relationship between envir - knowledge and the intention to adopt solar PV. onmentalism and the intention to adopt solar PV. 2 Research methodology 1.2 Knowledge 2.1 Sampling design Knowledge is an essential factor influencing users’ adop- tion decisions for technology, either directly or indirectly For data collection, this study employed a quantitative ap- [55, 56], because it affects user acceptance of a technology proach and a questionnaire. The current study targeted Independent Dependent Mediator variable variable Perceived Ease of Use a) Environmentalism Intention to adopt b) Knowledge Perceived Usefulness Fig. 1: A research framework Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/ce/article/5/3/464/6352424 by DeepDyve user on 17 August 2021 468 | Clean Energy, 2021, Vol. 5, No. 3 residents who are not solar PV users so that the intentions Table 1. Sources of items and insight from potential users could be gained [66 3, ]. The Items Sources Department of Statistics Malaysia stated that the working age ranged from 15 to 64  years [67]. However, some indi- Environmentalism (EN) EN1, EN2, EN3 Ahn et al. [48] viduals would pursue tertiary education and start working EN4, EN5 Park et al. [71] at the age of 20 years. Hence, this study targeted working Knowledge (K) adults in Klang Valley who are non-solar PV users. Since K1, K2 Wang et al. [72] there are no government or related authority records on K3, K4 Park et al. [71] the sampling frame, the study used a purposive sampling Perceived ease of use (PEU) method to infer the population better. PEU1, PEU2, PEU3 Park et al. [71] The sampling location was in commercial areas near Perceived usefulness (PU) shopping malls in Klang Valley and Malaysia’s most con- PU1, PU2 Park et al. [71] gested [68] and developed central city [69]. The location was PU3 Feng [73] selected as it is easier to get in touch with the residents Intention to adopt (INT) and they are financially capable of installing solar PV com- INT1, INT2 Park et al. [71] INT3, INT4, INT5 Kim et al. [74] pared to the suburban residents. Klang Valley incorporated both heterogeneous individuals and homogeneous groups to represent the country [70]. Therefore, the questionnaire Table 2. Respondents’ demographic profiles distribution began with a verbal introduction to the -cur Demographic profile Frequency Percentage rent research goal and voluntarily. This study successfully collected 207 of the 220 questionnaires distributed to par - Gender Male 91 45.5 ticipants. However, only 200 usable questionnaires repre- Female 109 54.5 senting a 90% response rate were analysed in this research. Marital Single 159 79.5 status Married 41 20.5 Others 0 0 2.2 Analysis method Age 21–30 99 49.5 31–40 66 33 The research questionnaire was divided into two sections: 41–50 10 5 A  (including demographic information) and B, which 51–60 19 9.5 measured the constructs. Section A consisted of 10 ques- 61+ 6 3 tions related to the respondent’s gender, marital status, Race Malay 62 31 age, race, education level, occupation, household size, Chinese 82 41 monthly electricity bill, monthly income and house types. Indian 49 24.5 Section B consisted of five constructs: environmentalism, Others 7 3.5 knowledge, PEU, PU and the intention to adopt—a total Education No formal education 0 0 level Primary schooling 1 0.5 of 20 items. Section B utilized a five-point Likert scale to Secondary schooling 21 10.5 measure things with a range between 1 (strongly disagree) Diploma/Certificate 25 12.5 and 5 (strongly agree). T able 1 lists the sources of the items Bachelor’s degree 126 63 used to measure the constructs. Master’s and above 27 13.5 Table 2 summarizes the demographic profiles of 200 Monthly elec<RM100 - 42 21 participants, including their gender, marital status, age, tricity fees race, level of education, household size, monthly in- (Ringgit RM101–RM200 74 37 come and monthly electricity fees. Approximately 54.5% Malaysia RM201–RM300 48 24 were female and the remaining were male respond- (RM)) RM301–RM400 17 8.5 ents. Nearly half of the respondents (49%) were between >RM400 19 9.5 the ages of 21 and 30  years, while more than a quarter Monthly <RM2000 38 19 income RM2001–RM4000 93 46.5 (33%) were aged between 31 and 40  years, followed by RM4001–RM6000 29 14.5 those aged between 41 and 50  years (5%), between 51 RM6001–RM8000 15 7.5 and 60 years (9.5%) and ≥60 years old (6%). Furthermore, >RM8000 25 12.5 nearly four-fifths of the respondents were single (79.5%), with the remainder married (20.5%). The respondents had different levels of education, beginning with primary was <RM100 (21%), 19 respondents paid >RM400 (9.5%) school (0.5%), followed by secondary school (10.5%), cer - and finally 17 respondents paid between RM301 and tificate or diploma (12.5%), bachelor’s degree (63%) and RM400 (8.5%). Ninety-three of those polled had a monthly master’s and above (13.5%). The highest monthly electri- income of between RM2001 and RM4000 (46.5%), 19% city fee paid by 74 respondents was between RM101 and had <RM2000, 14.5% had between RM4001 and RM6000, RM200 (37%), followed by 48 respondents (from RM201 12.5% had >RM8000 and 7.5% had a monthly income of to RM300) (24%), 42 respondents’ monthly electricity fee between RM6001 and RM8000. Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/ce/article/5/3/464/6352424 by DeepDyve user on 17 August 2021 Cheam et al. | 469 The current study applied partial least square structural The internal consistency reliability of all constructs dem- equation modelling (PLS-SEM) analysis using SmartPLS onstrated a sufficient level. Version 3 software to examine the research framework The Fornell–Larcker, cross-loading and Heterotrait- and proposed hypotheses. A  total of five constructs were monotrait (HTMT) criterion tests were performed to assess included. The partial least squares (PLS) algorithm and discriminant validity. The factor loading of each item was bootstrapping technique were used to evaluate meas- more significant than its cross-loading value. The Fornell– urement and structural models. The assessment of the Larcker criterion was tested using the square root of the measurement model incorporated a combination of the AVE. Among the correlation values of the constructs, the reliability, convergent validity and discriminant validity of square root of the AVE had the highest values (see Table 4). the constructs [75]. The structure model tested the path Meanwhile, Table 5 shows that all values were less than coefficient, effect size and T-statistics based on the re- the threshold value of 0.85 [79]. Therefore, it is possible to search framework by Hair et al. [75]. conclude that discriminant validity was established. Additionally, Table 6 demonstrates the path co- efficient analysis of the hypotheses. All hypotheses 3 Findings were tested based on the significance level of α = 0.05. Environmentalism (0.284) had the most significant im- The reliability, convergent validity and discriminant val- pact on adoption intention, followed by knowledge (0.241) idity tests for each construct are shown in Table 3. Since (Table 6). Thus, H1a and H1b are proven: most item loadings exceeded the threshold value of 0.7 [75], all 19 item loadings were retained. Nonetheless, the H1a: There is a significant relationship between en- factor loading for item EA2 was 0.47, which was less than vironmentalism and the intention to adopt the threshold value. The convergent validity—the average solar PV. variance extracted (AVE) of the construct—was used to H1b: There is a significant relationship between analyse the items with external loading values ranging knowledge and the intention to adopt solar PV. from 0.4 to 0.7 [76]. All constructs had AVE values of >0.5, Furthermore, T able 5 shows that PU mediated a positive which supports the convergent validity of the construct relationship between environmentalism (0.051) and know- [76]. Therefore, all items were retained and the concurrent ledge (0.195) in terms of adoption intention. However, PEU validity of each construct was established. did not. Hence, H2a and H2b were rejected. H3a and H3b Cronbach’s α and composite reliability (CR) were also were supported based on the mediating effect of PU on used to assess the internal consistency reliability. Most solar PV adoption: of the constructs (environmentalism, knowledge, PU and the intention to adopt) met the 0.7 Cronbach’s α threshold H3a: The PU mediates the relationship between envir - value. The CR was moderate [77] and satisfactory [78] onmentalism and the intention to adopt solar PV. when the PEU Cronbach’s α value was between 0.5 and 0.7. H3b: The PU mediates the relationship between All construct CR values >0.76 and <0.70 were acceptable. knowledge and the intention to adopt solar PV. Table 3. Convergent validity and consistent internal reliability Factor loading and reliability Construct Items Factor loading Cronbach’s α CR AVE Environmentalism (EN) EN1 0.82 0.87 0.91 0.71 EN2 0.85 EN3 0.87 EN4 0.83 Knowledge (K) K1 0.65 0.80 0.86 0.55 K2 0.78 K3 0.70 K4 0.80 K5 0.77 Perceived ease of use (PEU) EA1 0.85 0.57 0.76 0.52 EA2 0.47 EA3 0.80 Perceived usefulness (PU) U1 0.84 0.82 0.89 0.74 U2 0.88 U3 0.86 Intention to adopt (INT) INT1 0.79 0.81 0.87 0.64 INT2 0.85 INT3 0.74 INT4 0.81 Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/ce/article/5/3/464/6352424 by DeepDyve user on 17 August 2021 470 | Clean Energy, 2021, Vol. 5, No. 3 Table 4. Fornell–Larcker criterion has no apparent influence on the user’s decision to use the new technology. Respondents believe that adopting solar Construct PEU EN INT K PU PV required a significant amount of effort. Another possi- Perceived ease of use (PEU) 0.7242 bility is that users would tolerate the convenience of using Environmentalism (EN) 0.0793 0.8445 solar PV in exchange for environmental sustainability. PEU Intention to adopt (INT) 0.2863 0.4626 0.7977 does not mediate the relationship between knowledge and Knowledge (K) 0.4298 0.2931 0.5300 0.7423 the intention to adopt. In other words, an increased under - Perceived usefulness (PU) 0.4408 0.2806 0.5926 0.5439 0.8578 standing would not affect users’ perceptions of the ease with which solar PV could be used; hence, the intention to adopt took place. Table 5. Heterotrait-monotrait values The findings were consistent with those of Kardooni Construct PEU EN INT K PU et al. [8], who proposed that people’s perceptions of using renewable energy were limited. This finding could be ex- Perceived ease of use (PEU) plained by the residents’ lack of user experience and solar Environmentalism (EN) 0.1589 Intention to adopt (INT) 0.3900 0.5374 PV knowledge. Surprisingly, PEU did not correlate with the Knowledge (K) 0.4298 0.2931 0.6231 relationship between the predictors and the intention to Perceived usefulness (PU) 0.6207 0.3208 0.7110 0.6593 adopt. These findings suggested that the participants were aware that solar PV was challenging to use and required a high level of effort. As a result, it was concluded that re- Table 6. Structural model results lated organizations and media (e.g. newspapers, television Path or radio) might not effectively communicate solar PV infor - coeffi- mation to users [81]. Hypothesis Path cients P-value T-statistics Results On the other hand, PU mediated the positive relation- H1a EN → INT 0.284 0.000 4.97 Supported ship between environmentalism and the intention to H1b K → INT 0.241 0.001 3.28 Supported adopt, which is consistent with Wu et  al.’s findings [49]. H2a EN → PEU 0.001 0.936 0.08 Rejected Residents who care more about the environment will no- → INT tice that solar PV provides more benefits, and will thus H3a EN → PU 0.051 0.039 2.07 Supported have a greater tendency to use it. Also, PU mediates a → INT positive relationship between knowledge and the inten- H2b K → PEU –0.004 0.903 0.12 Rejected tion to adopt. Respondents believe that understanding the → INT technology will increase their perception of the benefits H3b K → PU → 0.195 0.000 3.74 Supported of using solar PV. Kardooni et al. [8] found that renewable- INT energy knowledge influenced user intention to adopt. 4 Discussion 4.1 Policy implications Overall, the construct findings revealed that both know- Policymakers and solar PV practitioners are required to ledge and environmentalism significantly positively im- implement several policies to improve solar PV adop- pact the intention to adopt. However, environmentalism tion. As per the current study, environmentally con- has a more substantial positive impact. The pattern im- scious users believe that solar PV is more beneficial plies that Malaysians who have self-assurance in envir - to the users with low environmentalism. However, onmental protection prefer to use solar PV. According to Malaysian’s environmental awareness remains low Bashiri and Alizadeh [63], users concerned about the en- [82], despite the Malaysian government’s efforts to pro- vironment were more likely to accept solar PV as they be- mote environmental education through initiatives such lieved solar PV could help to reduce pollution. Aziz et  al. as global education in collaboration with the World [29] reported a contradictory finding, claiming that envir - Wildlife Fund and eco-schools. The current policy served onmentalism has no impact on green-energy-purchase in- as a long-term policy, requiring a minimum age of tention and has no significant effect on users’ purchase 18  years for the younger generation to join the labour intention. However, knowledge significantly affects the force and participate in environmental protection ac- intention to adopt, as reported by Kardooni et  al. [8] and tivities. Strengthening the legislation is one option for Malik et  al. [64]. To summarize, knowledge increased resi- encouraging residents to be environmentally aware. For dents’ intention to use solar PV. Residents in Malaysia were example, the government could emphasize the nation’s discouraged from adopting solar PV due to a lack of experi- ban on single-use plastics and lower the manufacturers’ ence and information [29]. waste-production target. These policies would aid in Furthermore, PEU was unable to mediate the relation- establishing a more environmentally friendly environ- ship between environmentalism and the intention to ment, thereby shaping people’s awareness. adopt. This finding was supported by Chen [80] that PEU Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/ce/article/5/3/464/6352424 by DeepDyve user on 17 August 2021 Cheam et al. | 471 Meanwhile, knowledge and PU are positively related Initially, the findings revealed that residents’ intentions to solar PV installation. Residents with a higher level of to adopt solar PV were positively influenced by environ- knowledge believe that solar PV benefits them and they mentalism and knowledge. Second, when compared to are more likely to install it. This finding showed the in- knowledge, environmentalism has a more decisive impact significant mediation of PEU between predictors and the on the intention to adopt. This study broadened know- intention to adopt. The residents believe that solar PV re- ledge by assessing environmentalism and knowledge on quires much effort, reflecting their lack of knowledge and residents’ intention to adopt solar PV. Third, the literature experience with solar PV. The Malaysian energy commis- review revealed that no study had examined the impact sion and solar-market practitioners should increase their of environmentalism on Malaysian adoption intentions. efforts to provide accurate information to residents, as em- Finally, this study demonstrated the indirect effects of PU phasizing the economic benefits alone will not be enough between environmentalism and the intention to adopt to encourage solar PV adoption. Therefore, this study pro- solar PV. As a result, this research showed the direct and vided an empirical analysis and discussion of the findings, indirect influence of environmentalism on residents’ deci- intending to improve the implemented renewable-energy sions to use solar PV. policies and the residents’ living conditions. Furthermore, the study found a significant relationship Previous research has identified the factors that influ- between environmentalism, knowledge and PU mediation ence user intent to adopt solar PV [26]. However, infor - towards residents’ willingness to use solar PV. The findings mation on the disparity in residents’ solar PV intention revealed information and knowledge gaps on solar PV use, between developed and developing countries is limited raising concerns about the usefulness of solar PV rather [25]. Hence, the findings are hard to implement for the than its ease of use. Policymakers must launch campaigns latter. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations coun- to provide accurate information and environmental edu- tries, such as Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam, cation to residents. Consequently, using an extended TAM have set goals to increase solar PV installation and the model, we recognized the predictors that influence users’ proportion of renewable energy in the energy mix [83]. intention to adopt solar PV. Although solar PV development Policymakers could use the information to develop more takes time and effort, effective policies and collaboration effective policies to increase user adoption of solar PV, among stakeholders could accelerate public acceptance, as well as future researchers to identify the external thus achieving the nation’s renewable-energy goal. factors that influence the use of solar PV in developing countries. Conflict of Interest Lastly, the questionnaire was only limited to Klang None declared. Valley residents, so the outcomes could not be generalized to all Malaysians. It is suggested that future researchers should broaden their sample size in Malaysia. Besides, References the current study focuses on user acceptance of solar PV; [1] Sulub  YA, Hamid  Z, Nazri  MN. Renewable energy supply hence, the research framework should be expanded to in- and economic growth in Malaysia: an application of bounds clude actual user adoption. testing and causality analysis. 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Journal

Clean EnergyOxford University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2021

References