Accepted Paper:

Citizen participation in open design for sustainable energy system  


Jin Hee Park (Dongguk University)
Dong Kwang Kim (Korea University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores how technological appropriation and open design could be made by community grassroots initiatives and what hinders those citizen participations. The living lab experiment with mini-PV plant in Seoul shows that PV plant could be redesigned by citizen participation, which might enhance social acceptance of solar energy.

Paper long abstract:

After the Fukushima nuclear disaster appeared in Korea grassroots movements for energy transition to renewable energy system. Many citizen groups have been involved at first in activites of energy savings for reduction of nuclear power plants. The Seongadegol Saramdl, a community citizen initiative, stand at forefront of the movement and organized a living lab experiment with mini-PV plant funded by the national energy research institute. As members of initiative thoght that self-energy production was more important than energy savings, they tried to find a technical solution for self-energy production. While mini-PV plants were cost-benefit and available in market, there were some technical and economical limits for popular using. So the living lab was intended to design a new mni-PV plant by considering ideas of residents. A kind of open design process was structured and various stakeholders including residents were engaged in the project.

During the project residents had opportunities to suggest not only technical solutions of PV plant, but also financial solutions, which were not considered by engineers and public officials. A modified design of PV plant appeared more adaptable and comfortable to installation and using. The newly developed solar loan model could reduce financial burden on resident side and enhance social acceptance of solar energy. Although the project provides evidences of citizen knowledge production, it reveals also institutional and cultural hindernesses which made the potential of citizen participation unrealized.

We will discuss about the possibility of open design by citizen participation and problems to solve for promoting citizen engagement.

Panel B03
Open design & manufacturing in the platform economy