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Increasing solar entitlement and decreasing energy vulnerability in a low-income community by adopting the Prosuming Project


Rooftop solar panels could ease energy vulnerability concerns among households, particularly in the face of rising bills. However, few studies have explored the lived experiences of people with this technology. Here, I present findings from a ten-month study that followed seven households from a low-income community, who were given the opportunity to undertake prosuming—producing and consuming—of solar energy. Drawing on social practice theory and time geography, prosuming is analysed as a domestic project that has the potential to become embedded in everyday life by evolving across three temporal stages: adopting, establishing and committing. At the outset, not all households were convinced of the benefits of solar power; some even initially turned down the free panels as they were associated with ‘posh’ homeowners not social-housing tenants. However, as solar entitlement increased, prosuming offered an opportunity to decrease household energy costs, although these reductions cannot be assumed. This study offers valuable insights into topical debates, including the role of microgeneration in reducing energy vulnerability.

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I thank the seven households who generously shared their lived experiences of prosuming and their social-housing landlord for supporting the research that underpinned my doctorate. I would also like to thank the various supervisors at different points on my doctoral journal: J. Watson, S. Hielscher, K. Rogge, E. Steinmueller and S. Royston. Additionally, I would like to thank S. Royston for kindly reading and commenting on this manuscript. My doctoral research was funded as part of the UK Engineering and Physical Science Research Council Autonomic Power System, Energy Networks Grand Challenge research programme (EP/I031650/1).

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Fox, N. Increasing solar entitlement and decreasing energy vulnerability in a low-income community by adopting the Prosuming Project. Nat Energy 8, 74–83 (2023).

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