Photovoltaic systems on single-family buildings are widely implemented in Germany. Nonetheless, photovoltaic potential on multi-family buildings has barely been touched, even though these accommodate 53% of the German apartment stock. The Tenant Electricity Law, introduced in 2017 by the German Government, exempts electricity directly produced and consumed in a building from certain charges and taxes.
The neighbourhood electricity sharing mechanisms enabled by this law can incentivise residents and tenants to increase self-consumption, save electricity costs, adapt their energy-consuming behaviour and contribute to CO2-mitigation. However, Tenant Electricity Law is only rarely applied in multi-family buildings, hence having a still very large untapped potential.
Step Change will assess the potential benefits and the main setbacks of neighbourhood electricity sharing by developing three case studies in three diverse energy communities in Germany. Data on energy consumption and production will be collected continuously for 1 year, and the involved households will receive a monthly report about their consumptions as well as have real-time access to their data. Moreover, living labs will be developed in each of the communities part of the initiative.
By directly engaging citizens as scientists, the Citizen Science Initiative will shed light on both the potential and barriers of these energy sharing mechanisms. The initiative will tackle this issue in an energy citizenship perspective, namely focusing on three different dimensions: energy consumptions, energy-related lifestyles, and energy culture.
- Generating new knowledge about the importance of citizens' involvement in the energy transition
- Proving the relevance of TEMs, smart meters and future energy sharing concepts
- Proving the social relevance of citizen science to jointly thrive for the cause of a just energy transition and close the gap between energy research, citizens and policies
- Identifying the components of energy cultures and which of them are more conducive to a decentralised energy transition