Microgrid wants to let neighbors sell excess solar energy over a distributed ledger-based system, and two Brooklyn neighbors completed their very first transaction on the TransActive Grid On April 11, 2016.
Consensys & Lo3 Energy Build TransActive Grid
When dealing with solar energy, there is usually an excess of power than can be sold back to the electricity provider. But some people would much rather help out others with their excess solar energy, and it would make sense that a marketplace was created to facilitate these types of exchanges. That is exactly what Consensys and Lo3 Energy did with the TransActive Grid.
Microgrid is the company responsible for this idea. Its founders were looking for a solution to let neighbors sell excess solar energy among each other. However, that is much easier said than done, even though the blockchain makes the whole process a lot simpler and more transparent. The blockchain will allow for secure transactions that can easily be verified in real-time.
It is interesting to note how the TransActive Grid runs on top of the Ethereum blockchain, rather than choosing for Bitcoin. All of the trades on this platform are executed through smart contracts, a technology which is natively supported by the Ethereum blockchain Using a smart contract ensures no one can modify the data of the agreement once it has been recorded on the blockchain.
There are multiple advantages to this type of solution, as buyers and sellers know exactly who they are dealing with and where the solar energy is coming from. In fact, the first transaction on the TransActive Grid platform took place on Monday, April 11, 2016. Robert Sauchelli and Eric Frumin — both living in the Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn — completed a peer-to-peer energy transaction using US Dollars.
Eric Frumin shared his excitement about this platform as follows:
For the next person making the leap of buying solar panels, they have to decide whether or not most homeowners in this area—laying out 30 grand—how are they going to get that money back? This is one more step to making it more affordable to people who don’t have a lot of money but want to be part of the [renewable energy] solution.
What is of particular interest about this trade is how Sauchelli does not own solar panels at all, yet was able to benefit from the solar energy purchase. In most countries, owners of solar panels can only resell excess energy to the electricity supplier, but the collaboration between Lo3 Energy and Consensys proves there is an alternative solution.
P2P Solar Energy Trading with Ethereum
Smart contracts are a good fit for these types of transactions, as they make the boundaries of the agreement between parties clear and tamper-proof. Wielding this technology on top of the Ethereum blockchain can be of great value to our society as the TransActive Grid has demonstrated.
Although the primary advantage of this concept is to create local energy markets for solar power, it remains to be seen if people will embrace this solution. Bringing new technology to the masses takes time, and even though the first transaction has completed without a hitch, there will probably be a fair bit of apprehension involved during the early stages.
Will the TransActive Grid be the facilitator for global peer-to-peer energy trades? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Motherboard Vice
Images courtesy of Consensys, Ethereum, Shutterstock