Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation (CET)

CET Lunch:More than money: local impact is why individuals participate in citizen-financed solar projects

Welcome to our hybrid seminar with Fabienne Sierro, PhD Candidate at ETH Zurich.

Red/orange background with profile picture of Fabienne Sierro, text saying CET Lunch with Fabienne Sierro PhD, ETH Zurich & research associate, ZHAW. CET-logo on earth background in right corner.
Our CET Lunches are hybrid.
Ill: CET/Janne Bjørgan

Main content

Our speaker will attend digitally. Participants can sign up and tune in via stream, or turn up at CET where lunch will be served on a first-come, first-served basis.

Citizen-financed photovoltaics (CiFi PV), or solar projects, are innovative investment models, giving citizens the opportunity to invest into solar panels that are part of a bigger installation situated elsewhere than on the investor’s roof. In return, citizens receive their invested money back including an interest rate or a fixed amount of electricity deduced from their electricity bill.

Such projects provide financial resources for new, large-scale PV installations, while improving social and political support through involving citizens beyond mere energy consumption. Therefore, they bear potential to contribute to the energy transition and accelerate the diffusion of renewables.

To estimate this potential and grow beyond niche status, it is necessary to understand what motivates CiFi PV adoption. In this talk, I will present our latest findings of a survey study with early adopters from various types of CiFi PV projects in Switzerland and contrast these with results from similar studies. We will then discuss together potential implications of our findings, reflecting on the possibility of material participation as a form of citizen engagement in the energy transition.

About the speaker:
Fabienne Sierro is a Doctoral Candidate at ETH Zurich and works as a research associate at ZHAW. Her research focuses on socio-economic aspects of the energy transition and specifically of renewable energy projects in solar and geothermal energy. For her PhD, she aims at understanding motivations underlying citizen’s participation in crowdfunded photovoltaics and reflecting upon the role and potential of material participation in the energy transition.