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Urban energy generation: The added value of photovoltaics in social housing


  • Bahaj, A.S.
  • James, P.A.B.


Social housing offers an alternative for low-to-medium income families and keyworkers (teachers, nurses, and police). In the United Kingdom (UK), this fairly priced, rental accommodation is normally owned by housing associations. This paper explores urban energy generation (micro-generation) focussing on photovoltaics (PV) and how its generated electricity can be used to provide added value in terms of demand reduction and contribute to a reduction in fuel poverty. It presents the results associated from in-depth monitoring of nine low-energy social housing units equipped with PV systems commissioned in 2004 in the South of England, UK. We report on energy load profiles and relate these to occupier behaviour and any changes in consumption that occur. The results highlight the impact of micro-generation showing a close correlation between occupant behaviour and energy consumption. Increased energy awareness can lead to changes in the way energy is used, reducing overall consumption but 'education' must be sustained to ensure long-term energy reductions. The financial benefit of operating high demand electrical appliances at the peak of the solar day as opposed to in the evening when overall demand on the central grid is higher is highlighted. The paper also draws conclusions allied to the challenges that PV micro-generation technology presents in the social housing context.

Suggested Citation

  • Bahaj, A.S. & James, P.A.B., 2007. "Urban energy generation: The added value of photovoltaics in social housing," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 11(9), pages 2121-2136, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:rensus:v:11:y:2007:i:9:p:2121-2136

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    2. Foulds, Chris & Robison, Rosalyn A.V. & Macrorie, Rachel, 2017. "Energy monitoring as a practice: Investigating use of the iMeasure online energy feedback tool," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 194-202.
    3. Ramirez-Rosado, Ignacio J. & Fernandez-Jimenez, L. Alfredo & Monteiro, Claudio & Garcia-Garrido, Eduardo & Zorzano-Santamaria, Pedro, 2011. "Spatial long-term forecasting of small power photovoltaic systems expansion," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 3499-3506.
    4. Chicco, Gianfranco & Mancarella, Pierluigi, 2009. "Distributed multi-generation: A comprehensive view," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 535-551, April.
    5. Luthander, Rasmus & Widén, Joakim & Nilsson, Daniel & Palm, Jenny, 2015. "Photovoltaic self-consumption in buildings: A review," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 80-94.
    6. repec:eee:rensus:v:82:y:2018:i:p3:p:3400-3419 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Sovacool, Benjamin K., 2015. "Fuel poverty, affordability, and energy justice in England: Policy insights from the Warm Front Program," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 93(P1), pages 361-371.
    8. Hammond, Geoffrey P. & Harajli, Hassan A. & Jones, Craig I. & Winnett, Adrian B., 2012. "Whole systems appraisal of a UK Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) system: Energy, environmental, and economic evaluations," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 219-230.
    9. Ford, Rebecca & Walton, Sara & Stephenson, Janet & Rees, David & Scott, Michelle & King, Geoff & Williams, John & Wooliscroft, Ben, 2017. "Emerging energy transitions: PV uptake beyond subsidies," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 138-150.
    10. Allen, S.R. & Hammond, G.P., 2010. "Thermodynamic and carbon analyses of micro-generators for UK households," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 2223-2234.
    11. McManus, A. & Gaterell, M.R. & Coates, L.E., 2010. "The potential of the Code for Sustainable Homes to deliver genuine 'sustainable energy' in the UK social housing sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 2013-2019, April.
    12. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:5:p:691-:d:96965 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. repec:eee:enepol:v:114:y:2018:i:c:p:549-557 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Kossyvakis, D.N. & Vossou, C.G. & Provatidis, C.G. & Hristoforou, E.V., 2015. "Computational analysis and performance optimization of a solar thermoelectric generator," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 150-161.
    15. repec:eee:renene:v:122:y:2018:i:c:p:291-300 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Bahaj, A.S., 2009. "Delivering developing country growth: A new mechanistic approach driven by the photovoltaic industry," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 13(8), pages 2142-2148, October.
    17. Copiello, Sergio, 2016. "Leveraging energy efficiency to finance public-private social housing projects," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 217-230.
    18. Nakada, Tatsuhiro & Shin, Kongjoo & Managi, Shunsuke, 2016. "The effect of demand response on purchase intention of distributed generation: Evidence from Japan," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 307-316.
    19. Schweiker, Marcel & Shukuya, Masanori, 2010. "Comparative effects of building envelope improvements and occupant behavioural changes on the exergy consumption for heating and cooling," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 2976-2986, June.
    20. Sharifi, Ayyoob & Yamagata, Yoshiki, 2016. "Principles and criteria for assessing urban energy resilience: A literature review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 1654-1677.
    21. Clune, Stephen & Morrissey, John & Moore, Trivess, 2012. "Size matters: House size and thermal efficiency as policy strategies to reduce net emissions of new developments," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 657-667.
    22. Jenkins, D.P., 2010. "The value of retrofitting carbon-saving measures into fuel poor social housing," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 832-839, February.
    23. Widén, Joakim, 2014. "Improved photovoltaic self-consumption with appliance scheduling in 200 single-family buildings," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 199-212.


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