Such projects usually work by enabling exchanges of energy between producers and consumers inside a microgrid which serves the community, providing local energy resilience to future supply shocks. One house can buy excess renewable generation from a neighbour’s solar panels, or from a community wind turbine.
For instance, a user could specify from which neighbour’s solar panels they prefer to buy energy at any given time. If the smart meter of the energy-exporting neighbour is linked to the blockchain, it can automatically detect how much energy is generated or exported and record this information, along with the transfer of the corresponding amount of money. It can also record how many other parties the neighbour has made contracts with and prevent double counting.
Asia and the USA see the vibrant development in blockchain based applications in their solar industries. Grid operators in Singapore and the United States have joined the growing number of companies around the world that are experimenting with blockchain. They hope the technology can radically simplify renewable energy trading.
In Singapore, a blockchain-powered system enables companies to engage in renewable energy certificates trading. Those using the system can purchase RECs from companies producing surplus clean energy to offset their fossil fuel-based production.
In the US, a company operating a grid from Washington, D.C. to Chicago is developing a blockchain system to track electricity from wind and solar power plants as it’s produced, delivered and traded. They hope it will make transactions faster and cheaper, as well as attracting more participation than existing mechanisms.
Another example is a blockchain energy trading platform project in Britain backed by several household energy suppliers, the National Grid and a German electrical conglomerate. The trading platform is built on the Ethereum blockchain and uses simulated data from 53 million metering points and 60 energy suppliers.
Then there are projects with focus on distribution
Let’s start with German project run by EcoKraft GmbH. The team develops a next-generation social impact investment platform for community energy projects in developing countries. The firm has installed smart meters in Malawi to collect the consumption data from households and to send it through SIM cards to Germany. EcoKraft provides information on the economic viability of mini-grids for investors to finance additional mini-grids.
Another 3d world oriented project in the area of solar energy finance is a platform by Sun Exchange, that has attracted considerable media attention. Sun Exchange has built a blockchain based solar energy finance platform which fills a huge funding gap for commercial and industrial solar energy projects in Africa. It enables anyone in the world to buy and then earn revenue from solar panels powering Africa.
How it works: You buy solar cells and lease them to schools and businesses in developing nations. The Sun Exchange arranges your monthly lease rental collection and distribution.
The Sun Exchange is a marketplace where you can purchase solar cells and have them power businesses and communities in the sunniest locations on earth. You lease your solar cells purchased through The Sun Exchange to hospitals, factories, schools and other end-users, earning you decades of solar powered rental income wherever you are in the world.
The Sun Exchange hosts the so-call ‘crowd-sale’ of solar cells. It works similar to a crowd-funding as the project will only go ahead once all the solar cells have been sold. Solar Exchange arranges the solar equipment leases for the investors and arranges the revenue collection and distribution systems so investors earn a passive stream of rental income for 20 years powered by the sun.
Interesting local full functioning project may be found in Bangladesh. It is a peer-2-peer trading Platform by ME Solshare, which also is a blockchain startup. The team behind it has created a peer-to-peer energy trading where the consumers with solar panels on their home can generate electricity for their personal use and then sell the extra electricity to their neighbours. The project runs a peer-2-peer smart PV DC village micro-grid in Shariatpur, Bangladesh. Bi-directional metering enables users to buy and sell electricity to the grid. Households that did not have their own system can now buy electricity from their neighbors. With more solar power, fossil fuel use declines, and villages benefit from access to more energy.