Attitudes, preferences and intentions to participate in peer-to-peer electricity trading: The case of Southwest German households

André Hackbarth, Reutlingen University


The share of electricity produced   from renewable resources in Germany increased to almost 32% in 2015,   opening perspectives for new products and services especially for   private households, who own nearly one-third of the renewable production   capacities (Trendresearch, 2017). Moreover, the rapidly increasing   degree of digitalization enables innovative business models and   stimulates the market entry of competitors from other sectors   challenging the incumbent utilities. For example, virtual and decentral   market places for peer-to-peer energy trading are currently emerging  and  have the potential to disrupt the energy market (Löbbe and  Hackbarth,  2017). The objective of this paper is, hence, to examine the  motivators  of private households’ willingness to participate in  peer-to-peer energy  trading.

Relevance to the Conference

Our   analysis of the determinants of the intention to adopt energy  community  products perfectly fits one of the aims of the conference,  i.e. the  assessment of consumer opinions and preferences regarding new  approaches  to energy. Further, based on the rich body of literature on  the  adoption intention for related energy technologies, such as PV  systems  (e.g. Woersdorfer and Kaus, 2011; Vasseur and Kemp, 2015), our  study is  among the first to scientifically investigate the peer-to-peer  energy  community topic based on detailed empirical data.

Data and Methods

We carried out a survey in April/May of 2017 among residential customers   of 6 energy utilities located in southwestern Germany. Using data from   4529 consumers we performed a regression analysis to explore the   influence of product attributes (e.g. cost savings, autonomy,   environmental benefits, transparency), provider characteristics,   socio-demographic characteristics of the households, and personal   attitudes of the consumers concerning technology, environment, and   energy communities on the willingness to participate in peer-to-peer   electricity trading.


Our  preliminary estimation results explaining the intention to participate  in peer-to-peer electricity trading can be summarized as follows: (1)   Social norm, awareness, knowledge, and affinity concerning energy   community have a positive influence; (2) preferences for regional   production, ecology, transparency, price-consciousness and autonomy, as   well as technical interest and a positive attitude towards  technological  innovations have a positive effect; (3) the product  attributes ecology,  transparency, and community have a positive  influence, while ease of  use, autonomy, and monetary benefits seem to  be less important; (4)  electric utilities and  technology/telecommunication companies are the  preferred providers; and  (5) early adopters are more likely to be  mid-aged, already produce  electricity, decide all by oneself regarding  energy-related issues, and  communicate via social media.


Our   preliminary findings show that potential early adopters of energy   community products are best described by their preferences for   ecology/regionality, community, transparency, and autonomy, and   corresponding product attributes and their openness to technological   innovations. Furthermore, household characteristics seem to be less   important in explaining the differences in purchase intention. Finally,   energy community products are currently of some interest to only about   10% of the respondents, so that our results establish a good starting   point for decision-makers to decide on how the demand could be raised.


Löbbe, S., Hackbarth, A., 2017. The transformation of the German electricity sector and the emergence of new business models in distributed energy systems, in: F. Sioshansi (ed.): Innovation and disruption at the grid’s edge – How distributed energy resources are disrupting the utility business model, Elsevier, 287-318.

Trendresearch, 2017. Eigentümerstruktur: Erneuerbare Energien. Bremen, Germany.

Vasseur, V., Kemp, R., 2015. The adoption of PV in the Netherlands: A statistical analysis of adoption factors. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 41, 483-494.

Woersdorfer, J.S., Klaus, W., 2011. Will nonowners follow pioneer consumers in the adoption of solar thermal systems? Empirical evidence for northwestern Germany. Ecological Economics 70(12), 2282-2291.


Purchase intention, peer-to-peer electricity trading, energy community, consumer attitude

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