Do laundry when the sun shines: Factors that promote loadshifting in Dutch households with solar panels

Naomi D. Hubert*, Katharina Biely, L.M. Kamp, G. de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

The installation of solar panels by residential households is vital for the energy transition. However, the rapid uptake of solar panels by households leads to congestion in the electricity grid. Specifically, when the sun shines, these solar panels simultaneously produce a lot of electricity that is fed into the grid, which is inefficient and can destabilize the grid. Consequently, it is better if self-produced solar energy is directly consumed when the sun is shining. Loadshifting involves shifting energy use (e.g., doing laundry) to periods in which energy is produced. This necessitates behavior change within the household, and it is not yet well understood why people struggle to loadshift. To assess the individualistic and contextual factors influencing laundry loadshifting behavior in the Netherlands, we conducted a survey among 283 Dutch households with solar panels. The survey builds on a framework that integrates aspects of the theory of planned behavior and social practice theory. The framework comprises eight factors (sufficiency attitude, user beliefs, know-how, monitoring skills, habits, hassle, practical knowledge provided, and feedback provision by system design), which are quantitatively measured and analyzed. We used multiple regression analysis to explore the collected responses. Results show the relevance of monitoring skills, strong habits, passive user beliefs and practical knowledge for laundry loadshifting behavior. Findings highlight that instead of asking people to adjust to technologies, technologies should support behavior change and understand its intricacies and connections to its broader context. Additionally, it is important to strengthen households' beliefs regarding their active role in the energy system.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103514
JournalEnergy Research and Social Science
Volume112
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • Solar energy
  • Behavior change
  • Loadshifting
  • Sustainability
  • Energy transition

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