On-bill schemes are between the most flexible and innovative solutions to facilitate the uptake of energy efficiency upgrades in residential buildings, according to new report by H2020 project RenOnBill: they can be easily adapted to specific market and utility requirements.
Based on an analysis of four target countries, namely Germany, Italy, Spain, and Lithuania, the report highlights the possible challenges for the implementation of on-bill schemes (OBS) in the EU along three dimensions: market readiness, legal/regulatory framework, and utilites’ operational issues.
Ten busines model frameworks applicable to this context are identified.
The report finds that on-bill financing schemes are by far the most flexible type, but, for small utilities or for the implementation of large programs, on-bill repayment schemes are the preferred solution as the credit is provided by a third party.
Starting from these two general models, RenOnBill considers several variants with different service infrastructures and different typologies of financial arrangements. Furthermore, on-bill schemes can also adapt in their scope: for example, they can be tailored to support vulnerable customers against energy poverty, or to increase the uptake of cutting-edge products and services.
There is substantial market potential in Germany, Italy and Spain, despite the possible difficulties in addressing this demand. Lithuania is different, as regulatory changes could be necessary to open the market because district heating utilities serving the five largest cities cannot offer energy efficiency services to final users.
On-bill schemes demonstrate to be flexible mechanisms, offering a number of energy efficiency and innovative services. For specific types of utilities, on-bill schemes can even consolidate the position of the company on the market or open new opportunities thanks to their innovative aspects.
If well-conceived they may represent a breakthrough for the energy market.
In particular, the findings reported for Germany, Spain and Italy can be reasonably extended to similar markets, such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands, which need to refurbish their building stock, especially for reducing space heating demand.