Residents in Perth may soon have the power to buy, sell or swap excess solar energy with anyone connected to the Western Power network.
Western Australian start-up Power Ledger has begun trialling its electricity trading software in 20 homes and, if successful, has said it could become a major disrupter to the energy market.
“Just as Airbnb and Uber have up-ended the hospitality and transport markets, Power Ledger has the potential to change forever the way we buy and sell energy to power our homes,” Power Ledger chair Jemma Green said.
“We’re all electricity consumers, and many of us are now electricity producers with roof-top solar panels,” Power Ledger chair Jemma Green said.
“Power Ledger will enable producers and consumers to trade their energy directly – saving money, hassle and maximising the use of clean, green, solar energy.”
Power Ledger uses blockchain-based technology to identify the ownership of energy as it is generated and then to manage multiple trading agreements between consumers who buy excess solar direct from the original owner/producer – all without the addition of market costs and commercial margins.
The owners of excess energy can sell their surplus to their neighbours for less than the uniform tariff but more than they would get from selling it to their retailer. Effectively, Power Ledger is cutting out the middle-man.
“It’s a win for the people who have been able to afford to invest in roof-top solar, but also a win for customers who haven’t; they will be able to access clean, renewable energy at effectively a wholesale rate,” Ms Green said.
“The benefits of distributed renewable energy will flow on to those who, at the moment, can least afford to participate; we think that’s pretty special.”
Power Ledger has signed an agreement with National Lifestyle Villages to trial the technology at their Busselton site where there is a mix of consumers with and without solar panels.
The pilot project with Natonal Lifestyle Villages will help demonstrate the capability of the technology with plans for a second trial currently in development for a site in the Perth metropolitan area, scheduled for the first half of 2017.
Synergy and LandCorp are all supportively involved in discussions on the subsequent trial.