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Breakthrough Inventions in Solar PV and Wind Technologies: Identification and Explanation

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Document pages: 26 pages

Abstract: Breakthrough patents are highly influential patents not only with regard to further technology development but also with regard to their potential economic impact. In a first step, we identify breakthrough patents based on forward citations. In a next step, we explain firm heterogeneity with regard to the probability to create breakthrough inventions based on a firm’s closeness to science. Thereby we distinguish the solar PV industry (analytic knowledge-base) from the wind industry (synthetic knowledge-base). We find that closeness to science is more relevant in the wind industry to create breakthrough patents where technology development mostly relies on engineering knowledge.

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