The theory behind the CLEAR-X project is simple: consumers across Europe genuinely want to shift to renewable energy and reduce their energy demand, and incentives such as price discounts, assistance with grant applications and oversight of installation can get them there faster. Through collective purchase campaigns (CPCs) organised by national consumer campaigns, this theory has proven to be true. Below we take a look at the campaign run by Slovakian consumer organisation SOS Poprad, which focused on getting Slovakian consumers to install solar PV panels on their homes.
After extensive promotion to get the word out about the campaign, 1,825 individuals or families across Slovakia registered their interest. SOS proposed two offers to consumers, both including purchase at a discounted price, delivery, installation and assistance with connection to the grid. In both cases, the supplier also helped consumers to apply for state subsidies to install PV panels, while one offer included a PV system ready for the installation of a physical battery, and the other offered a virtual battery system.
From the original consumers who responded to SOS’s questionnaire, ultimately 449 free home visits were conducted by the two suppliers, and in the end, 100 households signed contracts. Unfortunately, the Slovak government paused their subsidy programme for PV installations in the middle of the campaign, leading to approximately 30 consumers delaying or cancelling their participation in the campaign. Of the PV installations made through the campaign, it’s estimated that 442 kWp of power will be installed in total, which will generate about 530 000 kWh of electricity from renewable energy per year.
Petra Cakovska, who coordinated the campaign for SOS Poprad, explained that public policy can play a key role in shifting consumers to renewables; “What households need is stable and predictable funding, with less of a paperwork burden. For vulnerable and lower income consumers, this funding should go all the way up to 100%. Distribution System Operators also need to get more involved and connect PV systems to the grid much faster; 3-4 month waits are too long.”
Following the success of the solar campaign, SOS are now working on a similar campaign for air-to-water heat pumps.