World-first trial allows West Australians to sell excess power to neighbors

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/8/16 9:35:42

A world-first trial has allowed West Australian residents with solar panels to sell excess power to each other.

The trial, made possible by the technology behind the virtual currency Bitcoin, allowed participants in Bunbury, the third largest city in Western Australia (WA), to sell excess power to their neighbors for between 5 US cents and 20 US cents per unit.

Under the current system, consumers can only sell excess power back to providers for 5 US cents per unit but if they then need to buy more power they would pay 20 US cents per unit.

Jemma Green, chairwoman of start-up Power Ledger who ran the trial, said the success of the experiment demonstrated the demand by consumers for greater control of their power usage.

"It's clear people want control of their electricity and to commercialize it how they see fit," Green told Fairfax Media on Tuesday.

Special 'Blockchain' software allowed participants in the trial to see the implications of selling or buying power at any given time such as how much money they would make or spend.

"A local government might have demand in one area but no roof space, and lower energy use down the road in a place that can have panels installed. They could then use the blockchain to provide for more of their own energy needs," Green said.

"At the moment we pay a flat energy tariff and also a time of day tariff based on how much it costs to produce energy at that time of the day. So people can store energy and sell it while the price is high."

"Apart from people getting a return on their solar panel investment sooner, there will be an increase in installations."

Green said Power Ledger has had discussions with companies in Japan, Brazil and New Zealand about deploying the new technology.

Posted in: Asia-Pacific

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