Engaging and activating energy consumers is seen as important mechanisms to reduce peak demands in the energy system. Transforming consumers into prosumers, which refers to consumers producing their own energy by installing micro-generations technologies, is considered a useful approach to achieving this. However, to what extent (if at all) does being a ‘prosumer’ make households more likely to time-shift their everyday practices to hours with lower peak electricity demands?
In this study, we investigate this by comparing electricity consumption patterns of households with solar panels systems to a comparison group of households that have not installed solar panels. Using cluster analysis on hourly electricity consumption data, we are able to identify different electricity- and load profiles. By focusing on hours when the sun is not shining, for example at night during summer and in the afternoon, night and morning during winter, we are able to investigate whether prosumers also act differently than other households when they are not directly ’prosuming’, but still are ‘prosumers’.
By combining the data with administrative data, we are able to compare households with and without solar panels by using matching. Moreover, the administrative data enable analysis of social differences within the groups of prosumers and non-prosumers.
These results become important with a growing focus on adjusting energy consumption to fluctuating patterns of production, which becomes a fact in future energy systems that are intended to rely on fluctuating renewable energy production such as wind and solar photovoltaic.