Is there a Prosumer Pathway? Exploring household solar energy development in Germany, Norway, and the United Kingdom

Energy Research & Social Science, Vol, 2018, pp. 258-269.

Prosuming – where private households use photovoltaics to produce electricity at home – has proliferated across Western countries, but growth rates have varied significantly. Focusing on Germany, Norway and the United Kingdom, this article explores the major factors that influence national prosumer figures between 1990 and 2017, and whether a development pathway can be identified. Support schemes, direct regulatory provisions, information and third-party installer markets are analysed through document studies, controlling for domestic context. This study confirms that changes in support schemes have been influential for the development of prosuming in all three countries; access to information and the presence of a third-party market have also been important. There are indications of differences elsewhere in the domestic context. For Germany and the UK, decarbonization has been a significant driving force for policy, unlike in Norway, where a boost in prosuming is now underway. While all three countries show similar early interactions between market and regulatory provisions, different national policy drivers indicate that different national prosumer pathways are possible.

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