Prosumers in the post subsidy era: an exploration of new prosumer business models in the UK


This paper explores the evolving renewable energy ‘prosumer’ phenomenon in the United Kingdom (UK). It identifies and evaluates how prosumer business models can exist beyond direct subsidy and the range of prosumer business model archetypes currently in operation. Through a series of in-depth interviews and document analysis, the paper identifies the key opportunities and challenges for these innovative energy business models. The analysis shows that recent developments in technology such as the diffusion of smart meters, li-ion batteries, peer-to-peer trading platforms and electric vehicles are opening up a range of new value propositions, which in turn are beginning to be exploited by a range of new business models. In many cases the regulatory, financing and institutional governance landscape of the UK lags behind, however, inhibiting these emerging business models. Moreover, these business models rely on managing a complex set of values for consumers that reach deeper into their lives than traditional tariffs. Thus, successful business models must manage this complexity if they are to be adopted by the disengaged majority. Energy policy and energy practitioners can leverage these emerging trends in service of a low carbon energy transition by adopting ‘ten principles’ of prosumerism; and six UK policy recommendations.

Publication date: 2019

Author: University of Leeds

Language: English