The dynamics of solar prosuming: Exploring interconnections between actor groups in Norway

Energy Research & Social Science, published online 14.10.2020. DOI: 10.1016/j.erss.2020.101816

Solar prosuming is an emerging phenomenon in which many actor groups are involved in shaping new solutions. Here we study national policymakers, relevant stakeholders such as grid companies, and the prosumers themselves – and the interconnections between them – to provide a contextualised exploration of positions, perceptions and interconnections that influence prosuming activities. Our 65 in-depth interviews in Norway, 33 of which with pioneering prosumers show that this group is not attracted to prosuming primarily for financial reasons, but for pursuing particular identities. However, our results also indicate that if prosuming were to become more widespread, economic considerations would be central. Further, the interplay among actor groups, mediated through current regulations and technologies, and the related perceptions, affect the uptake and organisation of solar prosuming activities. Third-party market actors such as the solar and building industry play important roles, as do grid companies and municipalities that are expected to facilitate prosuming activities. Given the current policy framework in Norway, we conclude that if increasing prosuming activities becomes a desired political goal, this will require stronger financial incentives for individual prosumers, and a deeper understanding of the interplay among actors across arenas and sectors.



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