4.2 Conducting a SWOT Analysis
SWOT= Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats
A SWOT analysis is conducted as a means of creating a quick "sketch" of particular processes or systems. It provides a quick way to get a view and to compare across different selections.
In the Eltrop chapter, you are introduced to a SWOT analysis for renewables on pg. 24 (pg. 10 of the pdf) and in Table 2.2 on pg. 25 (pg. 11 of the pdf). The main focus of this SWOT analysis is a technology, as broadly construed.
- In identifying Strengths, you want to locate the main internal features that support continuation or adoption and benefit the users of a particular technology, organization, process, subprocess, etc., (i.e., Why is it in use?).
- In addressing Weaknesses, you want to evaluate the vulnerabilities, low (or lack of) capacity, problems inherent in the system, blind-spots, etc., (i.e., What about it can break?).
- In categorizing Opportunities, you want to analyze for (external) routes of application, development, and expansion (i.e., Where can it go next?). This would include both market and nonmarket opportunities (fulfilling market needs, creating niche markets).
- In recognizing Threats, you want to spot (external) dangers, risks, shortcomings, weak links (as in a supply chain), and pitfalls (i.e., What can prevent or hinder further developments?).
Scalability and Comparability
A useful aspect of the SWOT analysis is in its scalability. You can compare systems, in this case different RE technologies, as well as subsystems, i.e., various aspects of a given RE technology. Scalability of analysis is both important and useful when analyzing systems. You can analyze each part and compare against each other, or you can analyze similar systems.
SWOT is mainly a descriptive and qualitative tool as used here. The addition of quantification can certainly help in further analyzing any of the SWOT categories.
For the SWOT matrix in the Lesson 4 Canvas folder, it is useful to begin sketching out a few different renewable options and thinking about your topic for a final project.