Energy communities in Sweden: Challenging established ideas of aim, place and engagement
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2024

This paper contributes to the discussion about the importance of different energy community (EC) characteristics. Based on a questionnaire to the members of solar ECs in Sweden, it investigates (1) to what extent EC members agree with the established view of the “ideal” energy community, as described in previous literature, and (2) to what extent the studied ECs match the characteristics of such an “ideal” energy community, according to their members. The analysis addresses six dimensions: process, outcomes, place, interest, organization, and social interaction. The results show that EC members confirm the importance of member involvement (process), shared interests (interest), and a sense of togetherness (social interaction) but do not find either geographical proximity (place) or spending time with other members (social interaction) particularly important. The studied ECs score low on both actual and desired member participation in management (process), decision-making (organization), and other community-related activities (social interaction). Based on the results, we argue that ECs with environmental aims are less dependent on member engagement and social interaction than socially motivated ECs and also less likely to create conflicts of interests with local communities than economically motivated ECs; that allowing non-local membership does not necessarily interfere with securing local benefits; that local anchoring matters but does not necessarily require geographical proximity; and that a sense of community can be based on a common mission rather than on social interaction. Overall, this indicates that a more nuanced view on aim, place and engagement is warranted.

Citizen participation

Energy justice

Community solar

Energy community, citizen engagement

Community energy


Anna Bergek

Chalmers, Teknikens ekonomi och organisation, Environmental Systems Analysis

Jenny Palm

Lunds universitet

Energy Research and Social Science

22146296 (ISSN)

Vol. 115 103626

Sol i gemenskap: deltagande, organisation och regelverk (SiG)

Energimyndigheten (50951-1), 2021-01-01 -- 2023-12-31.


Hållbar utveckling


Tvärvetenskapliga studier



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