Demand response behaviour of domestic consumers with photovoltaic systems in the UK: an exploratory analysis of an internet discussion forum

2014-07-17T14:06:20Z (GMT) by Eoghan McKenna Murray Thomson
Background: Domestic consumers with photovoltaic (PV) systems in the UK can benefit financially by time-shifting their electricity demand to coincide with the output of the PV. This behaviour is a form of demand response and can provide insights into demand response behaviour more generally. This paper investigates whether people with PV in the UK engage in demand response, what appliances are used, and whether benefitting from free, self-produced electricity appears to influence their behaviour. Methods: To achieve this, the approach presented here consists of an exploratory text analysis of an internet discussion forum frequented by consumers with PV in the UK. Results: Data was gathered on 105 forum participants with PV, of which 45 mentioned engaging in demand response, for example by changing cooking or cleaning practices. Washing machines, dishwashers and electric space and water heaters were the most commonly used appliances for demand response. Six participants engaged in demand response and yet received no direct financial benefit from this behaviour, while 14 participants specifically mentioned the influence of free electricity. Conclusions: The results illustrate novel demand response behaviour compared to previous studies and indicate that while price may be an effective initiator for demand response, there are additional factors beyond price that can enhance responses. The discussion considers the application of these factors to the development of innovative demand tariffs for low-carbon futures.