This study examines patterns of electricity use by Sydney households who have installed solar PV technology compared to those who have not in order to identify whether conservation or rebound effects are associated with domestic photovoltaics. A rebound effect exists when expected energy (and carbon) savings stimulate greater energy use. Currently this is an area where knowledge is lacking, compared to a larger body of studies which have measured the rebound effect from energy efficiency programs targeting buildings and appliances. Findings from this research have significance in determining whether a rebound effect needs to be factored into projected energy/carbon savings from solar PV installation. In scope here is the robustness of carbon mitigation estimates included in future rounds of international climate change agreements as well as local forecasts of future electricity demand affecting the national grid and its associated infrastructures. Analysis and modelling was undertaken on billing data for the period 2007-2014 provided by Ausgrid on a representative sample of households living in detached housing in Sydney. The sample comprised three groups: households who were early adopters and installed PV under a 60c/KWh feed-in tariff scheme, a group who installed under a 20c/KWh scheme and a control group with no PV. Econometric modelling undertaken for this study on energy consumption behaviour of households with vs without local renewable energy generation revealed that on a KWh basis, the rebound effect is estimated to erode up to one fifth of the benefit of renewable energy generated by solar PV.
Pilots are powerful for two reasons: 1. They are a great way to bring together groups of people to demonstrate how effective collective action can be in helping to change the status quo. More voices, more influence. Pilots, backed by evidence and research, can highlight and expose the challenges and blockages, particularly in government, far more effectively than any individual can (despite many individuals trying!). They also provide perfect opportunities for identifying solutions. And, 2. pilots provide the numbers and the evidence that decision-makers need, in order to believe and make change.Read more
In response to feedback, high-income households can reduce their energy use to a larger degree than low-income households (17% vs 3% reduction). This and other insights were gained by two rapid reviews into research, both Australian and International, on digital services and...Read more
Research on the energy efficiency of the different components of buildings – their shell, built-in appliances, plug-in appliances, floor size and floor plan, as well as position on site – all have contributions to make to amount of energy consumed. When combined with renewable...Read more
This research identified that, while solar households generate up to 40% of their total electricity consumption, they also have higher levels of electricity consumption relative to those with no PV. The research concludes that installation of solar PV (with feed-in tariff incentive) erodes up to 21% of the carbon mitigation benefit due to the rebound effect.
Cool roof technology is known to reduce the cooling energy consumption of conditioned buildings during hot periods, and widespread implementation of such roofs in a neighbourhood or precinct can mitigate the urban heat island effect.
Reducing residential energy use and related CO2 emissions across society requires approaches that understand energy demand as dependent on the performance of a range of interconnected social practices, which includes aspects of timing, location and material contexts.