Rebound and spillovers: Prosumers in transition
Generating energy by renewable sources like wind, sun or water has led to the emergence of ""clean"" energy that is generally available at low cost to the environment and is generated from seemingly unbounded resources. Many countries have implemented schemes to support the diffusion of renewable energies. The diffusion of micro-generation technologies like roof-top photovoltaics is one of the success stories within the energy transition and has been significantly driven - at least in countries such as Germany - by households. As these households usually not only generate energy but also consume it they are often called ""prosumers."" How does it influence the energy behavior of households if they become prosumers? Are these behavioral changes in line with further goals of the energy transition, e.g., reducing demand? What shapes individual behaviors of prosumers? The paper introduces a conceptual framework based on the existing literature on rebound and spillover effects. It systematizes possible behavioral consequences as well as mechanisms behind them. This framework is then used to code and analyze data from 48 in-depth interviews with prosumer households. These interviews reveal a broad variety of behavioral responses which have their roots in economic conditions and their evaluation by the prosumers, psychological mechanisms like central guiding principles and a clear conscience as well as sociotechnical context and legislative frameworks.