Excess solar power generated by a community solar power array at the Banister Housing Estate in Hackney, a London borough, was sent to a nearby residential structure using blockchain technology. It was the UK’s first energy trade using blockchain.
One kilowatt-hour of solar electricity was sent using technology made by Verv, a UK smart energy startup. Verv offers an intelligent home energy monitor which uses AI to help homeowners analyze and manage electricity consumption. The startup has also developed a blockchain-based peer-to-peer (P2P) energy trading solution. This system allows consumers who have renewable energy and energy storage to sell excess electricity.
“With the installation of our Verv smart hubs, we are being empowered to generate, store and trade our own community energy and I’m really excited to see how this trial evolves. It’s safe to say energy costs are very high and it’s important, more now than ever, that solutions be sought,” explained a Bannister House community member.
Some members of the community solar power system sometimes don’t consume all their electricity and have excess. Using the blockchain allows them to sell it to people near them who need it. It also allows this clean electricity to be consumed by neighbors who otherwise would have consumed electricity from the grid which is often ‘dirty’. In other words, the clean electricity has a lower carbon footprint. The blockchain tech used to trade clean electricity employs AI to help choose the best price for selling.
“Improving access to low-carbon electricity at affordable prices is at the core of our mission. We’re excited to be pioneering technology that could impact the movement towards a smarter and more flexible energy system in the UK – one that puts consumers at the heart of the grid,” said Peter Davies, CEO and founder of Verv.
The Hackney Banister Estate community solar project and the use of blockchain for electricity trading is part of Repowering London, an endeavor to support the use of renewable energy in local communities. Hackney is a borough of east London.
Blockchain technology is an encrypted ledger system used to document and verify transactions. Cryptocurrencies like BitCoin receive a lot of press, but blockchain is what facilitates the buying and selling. It can be used for many types of transactions.
One of the potential effects is that it may create new markets. In this particular case, the sending of solar-based electricity occurred outside of the wholesale market.