‘I’ve Got the Power’: Drivers of Heterogeneous Preferences for Energy Autonomy Among Swiss Potential Residential Solar Adopters
57 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2021
Thanks to recent market and policy developments, private households can satisfy an increasing share of their electricity needs with solar systems installed on their houses. Prosumers are taking centre stage in decarbonisation policies, but evidence on preferences for solar self-consumption and energy autonomy is still scarce. This study investigates why potential solar adopters value energy autonomy through a discrete choice experiment with 659 Swiss homeowners interested in adopting a solar system. The results indicate that the value of energy autonomy is independent of homeowners’ present electricity costs, environmental concerns and risk aversion, while it is driven by homeowners' expectations about future electricity price rises and time preferences. The study documents heterogeneous tastes for energy autonomy among potential solar adopters, who can be grouped into segments featuring preferences for high autonomy, moderate autonomy, or indifference to self-consumption opportunities. The profiling of segments suggests that high levels of energy autonomy are particularly valuable to techies and right-wing party supporters. Based on the findings, the study discusses implications for decarbonisation policies and business models. The results suggest that increasing energy autonomy per single solar system and making it more salient in the purchasing process could accelerate residential solar adoption among new segments.
Keywords: Households, Solar energy, energy autonomy, choice experiment, Prosumer, segmentation analysis
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