In Brooklyn, New York, a startup has found a fascinating way to change how consumers buy and sell solar energy. Now, one can sell and buy solar power directly to and from one’s neighbors.
And the best part is, Brooklyn is just the beginning since the startup already has its sights set on expanding:
LO3 Energy is … making it possible to auction rooftop solar power directly to your neighbors, creating a market for homegrown clean energy. … Surplus electricity generated by a rooftop solar array gets dumped onto the grid. These electrons are indistinguishable from electrons generated by a gas-fired power plant in Queens or a wind farm upstate. Each of these power sources acts like a hose feeding water into the same pool. You, the customer, are buying water from this pool. It’s impossible to discern whose water you’re buying, but you can determine who you would like to pay for what you take out.
LO3’s flagship product, the TransActive Grid meter, works like a digital ledger, keeping track of who buys energy and how much they consume. It allows people to purchase electricity directly from their neighbor with the solar array. Consumers use an app on their phone to interact with the meter. The meter uses a blockchain, the technological breakthrough behind BitCoin, to validate these purchases.
“Historically, you’ve needed some sort of third party to ensure that I’m not going to send a dollar to you and a dollar to someone else,” said Kessler, explaining blockchain. Typically, that third party was a bank. “But now, through technology, if we all have the same information, we can transact with each other and simply update everyone’s own database.” This allows people to do business directly with each other.