Norway has ambitious clean electrification targets that require expansion of its renewable energy sources. A leader in hydropower, its energy flexibility positions it to add solar and wind energy capacity towards even larger decarbonised electricity grids. While wind energy is progressing with some contestation, Norway has remained a laggard on solar energy unlike other Nordic countries with similar solar irradiation. Yet solar energy at community scale can overcome many of the challenges associated with limiting renewable energy diffusion, such as nature conservation and safeguards against land use change. This thesis examines why solar energy communities are emerging slowly in Norway and seeks to identify pathways for their emergence and diffusion. It draws on document analysis of peer-reviewed and grey literature, expert interviews, and online news articles.
This approach offers the basis to argue that energy communities are limited tovarious forms due to various reasons. These include lack of regulatory frameworksand strong support schemes, reluctance of grid companies to engage with end-usersand the threat of disperse generation units to grid stability, the ownership structure of natural resources and the skepticism in collective energy activities among others.During this research some of the barriers identified earlier in the process became drivers later in the process. The main drivers identified include deeper electrification efforts, high electricity prices and people’s interest in energy activities. These limitations and pathways to overcome them are discussed in relation to scholarship on sustainability transitions, especially concerning the dynamics of diffusion. The thesis offers an overview of prospects and challenges for solar energy community evolution in Norway and the justice implications that emerge along the way.