Just sharing? Energy injustices in the Norwegian solar policy mix for collective prosuming

Energy Research & Social Science, Vol 103, No 103219, 2023, 12 p.

There is increasing evidence that the energy transition incorporates new types of inequalities for different types of energy consumers. In many places, detached dwellings are highly overrepresented among the building types with solar PV installed. Based on document analysis and high-level interviews, this article analyses the policy mix for rooftop solar energy in Norway through an energy justice lens, focusing on multi-apartment buildings and housing cooperatives. Such cooperatives resemble both a Renewable Energy Community and a Citizen Energy Community as defined in the EU's ‘Clean Energy for all Europeans’-package. We identify several energy injustices in the solar PV policy mix, which effectively impede residents in multi-apartment buildings from collectively producing their own electricity. As a result, very few multi-apartment buildings and housing cooperatives produce their own electricity. Most importantly, current regulations add electricity taxes, grid fees and VAT to the collectively self-consumed electricity as soon as it enters each individual dwelling. By contrast, detached households are allowed to practise hourly net-metering, thereby consuming their self-produced electricity behind the meter without any additional taxes or fees. Finally, our findings show that perceptions of a ‘fair’ policy mix vary considerably, and that equal rules affect various groups of residents differently.