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Our Citizen Science Initiative on energy communities, led by our German team from Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF), explores the potential benefits and main setbacks of neighborhood electricity sharing schemes.

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- makes electricity directly produced and consumed in a building or  building complex exempt from certain charges and taxes.

The neighborhood electricity sharing mechanisms enabled by this law can incentivize residents and tenants to increase self-consumption, save electricity costs, adapt their energy-consuming behavior, and contribute to CO2-mitigation. However, tenant electricity is only rarely applied in multi-family buildings and thus it still has a very large untapped potential.

Step Change will assess the potential benefits and the main barriers to neighborhood electricity sharing, by examining tenant electricity projects in Germany. By directly engaging citizens as scientists, the initiative will cast light on the potentials and barriers of and motivation to participate in tenant electricity from an energy citizenship perspective, focusing on three different dimensions: energy consumption, energy-related lifestyles, and energy culture.

The overall aim of the initiative is to generate new knowledge on the importance of actively involving citizens in the energy transition, to prove the relevance of the tenant electricity model and to identify the components of energy cultures which are more conducive to a decentralized energy transition. Also considered here is proving the relevance of citizen science in conducting research that reflects local realities, building new social connections and  closing the gap between different actors and levels of energy research, citizens (tenants and landlords), enterprises and policy.

Members of the public are invited to participate in the project and become citizen scientists

Our colleagues from WECF are looking for citizens interested in collaborating with the initiative. For more details visit WECF´s website and see our fact-sheet below.

If interested in participating in the initiative get in contact with Johannes Baumann, Project Manager at WECF (Johannes.baumann@wecf.org)