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An Empirical Study on Gender Perception towards Solar Energy Products

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Abstract—

In India, Solar energy devices are launched mainly with the objective to sustain the environment and to create awareness among the public regarding solar energy devices. Solar energy is growing in India because of its location between the tropic of cancer, and the equator. India has an average annual temperature that ranges from 25°C-27.5°C. So, solar energy can also be produced easily in most of the parts of India. Therefore, this paper aims to understand the gender perception towards solar energy products in Punjab. The data of 185 respondents have been collected from different areas of Punjab (India) through a structured research schedule using convenient sampling. The data has been further analyzed by using an independent sample t-test. However, the study reveals that there exists a considerable difference in the perception of males and females towards the solar energy products.

Keywords— solar energy products; gender perception; convenient sampling; independent sample t-test

I. Introduction

The global energy demand is anticipated to rise at a huge tempo in the coming 30 years. According to [11] world’s energy needs will be almost 60% higher in 2030 as compared to now. Two-thirds of this increase will be noticed in China, India and other rapidly developing economies and this will account for almost 50% of the energy utilization [1, 15]. Till date, many countries have been facing significant deficiency in energy supply. Therefore, they are focusing on solar energy [21]. It is becoming an important area of focus for the people all around the world [12]. It is essential for every country to not only combat climate change but also to diversify the demand over the various renewable energy sources and to provide protection against external shocks [21]. As the dependency of governments on efficient sources is increasing, the solar energy is becoming the part of an economic sustainability [12]. Out of all renewable energy sources, solar energy is the most reliable and trustworthy energy source [28]. A clean energy future demands greater investment in renewable energy resource [29]. The international energy agency estimates that India will become the biggest consumer of oil after 2020 [7]. Moreover, the outlook for India’s energy production seems stark as the country will face shortage of around 6.7 percent annually [26]. The primary reason for this shortage is over dependence on fossil fuels for energy generation. Further, 1 lac villages in India do not have access to electricity [10]. Moreover, India is blessed with the potential for generating a significant amount of solar energy all around the year [23]. Due to this fact, country is planning to establish mega solar power plants to exploit this important renewable energy resource [1]. As in many other sectors, Indian states seek to drive change and attract investment in solar power. The power grid corporation of India ltd. (PGCIL) has identified some renewable energy rich states which are Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Punjab [17]. Security of supply, environmental concerns, stable energy prices are all issues which could be addressed through greater deployment of renewable energy technologies [11]. Given this situation, research needs to be continued into a host of energy sourcing options and policy initiatives [1].

II. Literature Review

Various studies have been conducted in respect of solar energy products. [25] found that knowledge of nature and the environment seemed to be dependent on gender. In a recent study, it was found that woman’s environmental awareness is becoming more restricted than men. Environmental concerns have been traditionally viewed as one-dimensional construct ranging from unconcerned about the environment at the low end to the high end, as measured by the New Environment Paradigm (NEP). Although education background seemed to affect attitude, activity levels, knowledge, and there are without a doubt a number of other underlying factors. [30] described that the benefits and subsidies given by the government for disseminating solar lantern are not the reasons for purchase in most cases, and suggested that the emphasis on subsidy by the support program shifts the focus to the cost of the solar lantern than its benefits. [13] argued that the views and attitudes of stakeholders need to be modified, in order to ensure a sustainable future in accordance with the global scientific community that is systematically promoting the use of solar products. [31] stated the views of society on issues related to the environment largely affect environmental actions carried out among the population. In other words, citizens’ attitude has a major impact on energy policy planning. [19] concluded that people with an ecological lifestyle more often take part in the events to protect environment. Humans are dependent on Earth’s natural resources. As consumers, we have many options available to meet our needs. The author expects that when needed, people with ecological living should shift to the use of renewable energy devices. A solar product is one of the most commonly used renewable sources of energy. [8] suggested that the key issues facing solar energy development are not ‘objective’ policy blockages, but different values and perceptions related to a range of factors, including, governance, technology, landscape aesthetics, issues of participation, and power inequalities. [20] have conducted a survey in Malaysia, which aimed to record the public’s understanding and views on renewable energy sources and solar photovoltaic installation scheme, it has shown that the public have limited knowledge of the alternatives available and are not keen to invest in such photovoltaic energy plans. [5] stated that distributed rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) systems do not suffer from the disadvantage of needing land. Study suggested that by 2070, if all 425 million households in India are provided with a 3 kWp solar panel, it should be possible to generate 1,900 TWh/yr from such distributed systems alone. [1] has explored that the solution to the problem of securing adequate energy supply lies in the integration of several options and technologies from diversified fields, viz: biomass, biogas, bioethanol, bio diesel, solar energy, wind energy, hydropower and other reasonably eco friendly options. No particular option may be regarded as the panacea. Different countries and respective regions of the world would have to decide and choose the combination of options which suit them the best giving cognizance to their resource base, technology level, and available manpower to operate the various systems. [24] suggested that the growth of renewable energy sources, particularly photovoltaic systems, is following an upward trend, with continuous technical improvements being made along with the provision of subsidies. The best way to facilitate the development of photovoltaic systems is through the creation of an institutional framework with the participation of all stake holders in decision-making processes. The need for cooperation regarding renewable energy sources has been perceived by the broader public. Lack of communication can only lead to problems, both pertaining to the public and also to local authorities, that often result in delays or even cancelled investments in certain cases.

A. Research Gap

Past research shows that domestic solar systems are well-suited to urban as well as rural areas, are a proven effective technology, and offer the opportunity for individuals to make a statement about their environmental beliefs [4]. The systems are also defined as economic, affordable, compatible with other technologies, able to reduce pollution, and are technically reliable [3, 2, 14, 18, 9]. While these projects have the potential for broad and far reaching benefits, they are found to be more effective when gender equality is taken into account [22]. It also means understanding women’s and men’s different knowledge, experiences, needs, and interests along the renewable energy value chain [9]. However, despite their positive characteristics, solar energy products remain unattractive to individual householders as a home improvement and incompatible with personal priorities [2, 26, 27]. Hence, this research aims to study the perceptions of males and females regarding the solar energy products so that policies can be formulated accordingly. The study is significant for solar energy products manufacturers as it makes them aware about customer perception towards the solar energy product. In addition to this, not much literature has been found relating to the Indian (Punjab) context. So, this study being first of its kind attempts to study the effect of the gender perception on the solar energy products in Punjab.

III. Research Methodology

The present study is mainly based on primary data collected from 185 respondents belonging to different areas of Punjab state (India). The survey was conducted during the period of Jan 2017 to Jan 2018. The respondents were interviewed through a pretested, well structured questionnaire which was administered personally. Sampling procedure was followed by convenience. A criterion was used to identify the respondents who can afford solar energy products and they have full awareness about these products. The collected data was analyzed by using independent sample t-test. Five point Likert scale has been used for the said purpose ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree.

A. Objective of the study

To study the gender variance in perception of gender towards solar energy products.

B. Hypothesis

H0:-There is no difference in perception of customers towards solar energy products with respect to gender.

Ha:-There is significant difference in perception of customers towards solar energy products with respect to gender.

IV. Data Analysis and Discussion

A. Testing of Normality

An assessment of assumptions including testing of normality and distributional assumptions were taken in the analysis. The reasons for assessing normality of present data was done to check departures from normality if any, which can affect tests and confidence intervals based on normal theory methods [16]. The study used the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test for calculating expected normal distribution and comparing it with the observed distribution [6].

One-Sample Kolmogorov-Smirnov Test

S-1.

S-2. S-3. S-4.

S-5.

S-6. S-7.

S-8. S-9.

S-10.

N 185 185 185 185 185 185 185 185 185 185

Normal Parametersb Mean 4.2000 2.6541 2.9405 3.4649 3.5946 3.4757 4.0703 2.9405 3.7189 4.2000

Std. Deviation 0.70557 1.26375 1.13335 0.96690 0.92840 0.91527 0.96708 1.14290 1.17349 0.72831

Kolmogorov-Smirnov Z 3.760 3.386 2.473 4.364 4.539 4.380 3.392 2.519 3.309 3.565

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Asymp. Sig. (2-tailed) 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000

(Source IBM SPSS statistics 21 version)

In this test, the Sig. (p) value is compared to the alpha level (level of significance for the statistic) and a determination is made as to reject (p < α) or retain (p > α) the null hypothesis. In the present study, the p-value is less than 0.05 which shows significance of values. Hence, the data is normal for further analysis [6, 16]. After this Independent sample test was applied for further analysis.

Independent Samples t-Test

Levene’s Test for Equality of Variances t-test for Equality of Means

F Sig. T df Sig. (2-tailed) Mean Difference Std. Error Difference 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference

Lower Upper

S-1. Equal variances assumed 1.064 0.304 0.585 183 0.559 0.06106 0.10438 -0.14488 0.26699 Equal variances not assumed 0.580 170.020 0.563 0.06106 0.10527 -0.14674 0.26885

S-2. Equal variances assumed 1.562 0.213 1.281 183 0.202 0.23857 0.18629 -0.12899 0.60612 Equal variances not assumed 1.269 169.149 0.206 0.23857 0.18805 -0.13267 0.60980

S-3. Equal variances assumed 0.228 .0634 -0.129 183 0.897 -0.02169 0.16781 -0.35278 0.30940 Equal variances not assumed -0.129 175.424 0.898 -0.02169 0.16816 -0.35356 0.31018

S-4. Equal variances assumed 0.010 0.919 -0.450 183 0.653 -0.06436 0.14309 -0.34668 0.21796 Equal variances not assumed -0.449 176.095 0.654 -0.06436 0.14326 -0.34708 0.21836

S-5. Equal variances assumed 0.172 0.679 -0.009 183 0.993 -0.00118 0.13747 -0.27241 0.27005 Equal variances not assumed -0.009 171.049 0.993 -0.00118 0.13848 -0.27454 0.27218

S-6. Equal variances assumed 0.377 0.540 -0.975 183 0.331 -0.13178 0.13517 -0.39848 0.13492 Equal variances not assumed -0.981 180.283 0.328 -0.13178 0.13439 -0.39696 0.13341

S-7. Equal variances assumed 1.039 0.309 0.748 183 0.456 0.10691 0.14298 -0.17519 0.38901 Equal variances not assumed 0.737 164.477 0.462 0.10691 0.14501 -0.17942 0.39323

S-8. Equal variances assumed 1.098 0.296 2.762 183 0.006 0.45804 0.16581 0.13090 0.78518 Equal variances not assumed 2.742 170.956 0.007 0.45804 0.16705 0.12829 0.78779

S-9. Equal variances assumed 0.842 0.360 0.677 183 0.499 0.11752 0.17354 -0.22489 0.45992 Equal variances not assumed 0.672 170.853 0.502 0.11752 0.17486 -0.22765 0.46268

S-10. Equal variances assumed 4.132 0.044 -0.243 183 0.809 -0.02617 0.10782 -0.23890 0.18657 Equal variances not assumed -0.236 151.361 0.813 -0.02617 0.11065 -0.24478 0.19245

(Source IBM SPSS statistics 21 version)

Results of Group Statistics

Gender N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean

  1. Solar energy is independent source of energy. Male 101 4.2277 .67648 .06731 Female 84 4.1667 .74176 .08093
  2. Solar products can enhance my property value. Male 101 2.7624 1.20124 .11953 Female 84 2.5238 1.33061 .14518
  3. Solar products are value for money option. Male 101 2.9307 1.12479 .11192 Female 84 2.9524 1.15022 .12550
  4. Solar system gives uninterrupted electricity. Male 101 3.4356 .96349 .09587 Female 84 3.5000 .97561 .10645
  5. Solar products are easily available in the market. Male 101 3.5941 .89642 .08920 Female 84 3.5952 .97089 .10593
  6. Solar products work well in all Seasons. Male 101 3.4158 .94093 .09363 Female 84 3.5476 .88365 .09641
  7. It is environmental friendly technology. Male 101 4.1188 .89763 .08932 Female 84 4.0119 1.04702 .11424
  8. Back-up time of solar products is quite long. Male 101 3.1485 1.08061 .10752 Female 84 2.6905 1.17172 .12784
  9. It reduces carbon emissions. Male 101 3.7723 1.13032 .11247 Female 84 3.6548 1.22714 .13389
  10. Solar product is a good initiative for saving environment from pollution. Male 101 4.1881 .62790 .06248 Female 84 4.2143 .83697 .09132

(Source IBM SPSS statistics 21 version)

Results of the analysis shows that in statement 1 ‘Solar energy is an independent source of energy’ mean score of both cases in gender male and female is 4.2277 and 4.1667 respectively which is almost equal which indicate there is no difference in the perception of males and females regarding the factor that solar energy is an independent source of energy. Similarly in statement 2 ‘Solar products can enhance my property value’ the values come out 2.7624 and 2.5238 which again indicate similar perceptions of males and females towards solar products. In third statement ‘Solar products are value for money option’ the mean value of both gender are 2.9307 and 2.9524. In the statement ‘Solar system gives uninterrupted electricity’ the mean scores are 3.4356 and 3.5000 respectively which indicates similarity between males and female perception regarding the statement. In statement ‘Solar products are easily available in the market’ values are 3.5941 and 3.5952. In the statement ‘Solar products work well in all Seasons’ mean values of both male and female are 3.4158 and 3.5476. In statement ‘It is environmentally friendly technology’ mean values are 3.1485 and 2.6905. in statement ‘Back-up time of solar products is quite long’ mean score of male and female is 3.1485 and 2.6905 which indicates there is difference between mean score of their perception of back-up time of solar products. In statement ‘It Reduces carbon emissions’ mean values are 3.7723 and 3.6548 and in last statement ‘Solar product is a good initiative for saving the environment from pollution’ the mean scores are 4.1881 and 4.2143. Hence, In case of nine statements P-value is > 0.05 but in one statement ‘Back-up time of solar products is quite long’ P value is < 0.05 (i.e. 0.006 and 0.007) clearly shows that there is a difference in perception of customers towards solar energy products with respect to male-female perception.

V. Conclusion

In this research, the causes of poor response to solar energy products have been examined by taking into account the perception of males and females. Research analyzed that for better adoption of the solar energy products the various new marketing strategies based on the different perceptions according to the gender should be taken into account [22]. It has been revealed in this study that males and females have varying perceptions when the backup time is considered as an important attribute by females. Further, study revealed that shorter backup time of solar energy devices creates havoc in their daily life routine as shifting from one energy source to another disrupts their work. The reason behind this can be the busyness of the females in the family as they play multiple roles in the household work like taking care of the children, elder members and they cannot spare time to manage the solar energy devices as it consumes time for maintenance. Whereas, their perceptions are almost consistent regarding the attributes like the environment-friendly product, availability of product and subsidies, technological advancement, and adequate value for money.

A. Limitation

This study is based on a survey, so it may suffer from some basic limitations. Lack of respondents’ awareness regarding solar energy products may affect the results of the study. The sample size has been selected on the basis of convenience and has been taken from Punjab state only. Therefore, results may not be representative of the overall population. The perception of respondents from one part may vary from another part of India. The biasness of the respondents may affect the result of the study so for as primary data is concerned. The sample size has been small (185) which may not reflect the broader picture

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An Empirical Study on Gender Perception towards Solar Energy Products. (2022, March 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved August 14, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/an-empirical-study-on-gender-perception-towards-solar-energy-products/
“An Empirical Study on Gender Perception towards Solar Energy Products.” Edubirdie, 17 Mar. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/an-empirical-study-on-gender-perception-towards-solar-energy-products/
An Empirical Study on Gender Perception towards Solar Energy Products. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/an-empirical-study-on-gender-perception-towards-solar-energy-products/> [Accessed 14 Aug. 2022].
An Empirical Study on Gender Perception towards Solar Energy Products [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Mar 17 [cited 2022 Aug 14]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/an-empirical-study-on-gender-perception-towards-solar-energy-products/
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