Australia’s first residential solar electricity sharing market is underway, with the launch of a world-leading – and home grown – peer-to-peer trading platform at the White Gum Valley housing project in Fremantle, Western Australia.
The Perth-based company behind the solar sharing technology, Power Ledger, launched the P2P platform at the site on Thursday, allowing for the trade, between residents, of the solar electricity generated and stored at the site.
The company’s system uses blockchain technology to allow residents to trade electricity amongst themselves at a price greater than available feed-in tariffs but lower than residential retail tariffs, providing an incentive for more developers to install rooftop PV on strata-titled developments.
For residents of the multi-unit White Gum Valley development, it allows them to sell their share of solar to neighbours if they don’t use it themselves, thus maximising the value of their investment.
The ground-breaking residential solar sharing project – which features solar PV installed on all the mostly north-facing homes, coupled with domestic battery storage technology and embedded energy efficiency measures – is a collaboration between Curtin University, project developer LandCorp, grid operator Western Power, alongside the Low Carbon Living CRC, the City of Fremantle and Solar Balance.
It was originally devised to serve as a “living laboratory” – part of a four year research project by the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living and Curtin University to monitor energy use and technology performance and identify areas for improved efficiency – as well as to trial the “shared strata” energy trading system developed by Curtin University.
Construction on the zero carbon neighbourhood began in April this year, including the creation a grid-connected micro-grid or embedded network that allows all tenants access to the solar and storage facilities.
In the meantime, Power Ledger has also successfully trialled its technology in Busselton, is working on a 500-site trial in Auckland with New Zealand’s largest electricity distributor, and is set to unveil “a number of other exciting projects” in the New Year, including a large-scale project that is expected to have many thousands of participants.
“Power Ledger is all about people power: everyday people harnessing the energy of the sun on their rooftops, and effortlessly trading it with their neighbours via our world-leading technology,” said the company’s chair and co-founder, Jemma Green, who was part of the Curtin University team.
“Residents in this development can now trade the electricity generated on their rooftop, and stored on batteries in their garage – without the need for an energy retailer.
“Perth is leading the way in transforming the global renewable energy market,” Green said.
Indeed, Power Ledger was named, just last week, by Bloomberg New Energy Finance as one of the global leaders in the development of blockchain energy sharing technology, which is expected to become a major player in the shift to decentralised generation.
As the BNEF report noted, Power Ledger is “evolving business models, and is currently operating in an area where a high uptake of residential solar is diminishing the grid’s role in transporting electricity.
“The technology being developed can be used behind the meter or across networks, and the company is thereby considering the grid’s potential to act as a trading platform. Power Ledger is working closely with established entities in the Australian power sector, and is already receiving interest from Brazil and Japan.”
But for Green, it is as much about empowering consumers to take energy generation into their own hands.
“Power Ledger is all about people power: everyday people harnessing the energy of the sun on their rooftops, and effortlessly trading it with their neighbours via our world-leading technology,” says Green.
“It’s our hope, that through adopting the Power Ledger system, consumers and businesses will be able to participate in the roof-top solar revolution, drive down resident power bills and contribute to the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.”