TERI Creates Blockchain-Enabled Prototype for Solar Power Trading Using Your Phone

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A platform has been developed by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions using Blockchain for trading solar power generated from rooftop solar PV systems, by consumers within the same neighbourhood.

TERI has developed this prototype in partnership with Sofocle Technologies Limited, a blockchain and IoT start-up in Noida. The prototype aims to demonstrate the concept of energy trading among rooftop solar plant owners to facilitate the development of local electricity markets. This in turn will promote the adoption of rooftop solar PV systems, particularly in the residential consumer segment, as it will incentivise consumers by providing additional incentives of trading among themselves, in addition to selling to the distribution utility.

Under this prototype, residential consumers in the same neighbourhood with solar PVs can use their smartphones to sell excess power generated to their neighbours, or even to their power distribution company. The transactions are seamless, recorded and secure using Blockchain technology.

Using this platform, the electricity generated by a consumer from rooftop solar power plant can be transacted using peer-to-peer control mechanism wherein residential premises, malls, schools, and SMEs can trade local power generation on a secured network. The prototype is empowered by blockchain technology that ensures security, transparency and efficiency in the transactions that will take place among consumers.

Alekhya Datta, Fellow & Area Convenor, TERI, who conceptualised and led the development of this prototype after TERI’s pitch for the same, won accolades at the Global Blockchain Congress at Kolkata in December 2018. Datta believes, “The successful deployment of this prototype would help in scaling up the adoption of rooftop solar in the domestic consumer category,” a news article quoted.

Using this prototype, electricity subscribers can securely sign into their accounts and set bids and quote their own price for locally generated energy. A separate portal for distribution utilities is also available for user and meter identity management. The platform will also generate reports displaying total settlements, total units produced and consumed via tokens.

“Subscribers to such local energy markets-based services can trade clean solar energy in the form of energy tokens, just like cryptocurrency,” according to Sweta Malik and Nilesh Hadiya, who are a part of the TERI team that worked on the prototype development. Empowered by blockchain, the platform will ensure better privacy, security and trust between solar energy traders. According to a recent development, the state electricity regulator of Uttar Pradesh notified the provision of peer-to-peer energy trading with blockchain applications vide its 2019 regulations.

This prototype further goes on to explore the potential of local energy trading to various state regulators and thereby influence policy discussions. The prototype is now planned to be scaled up to a field pilot with possible implementation on actual network of a distribution utility or in an institutional campus using smart meters.

The real-time demand and excess electricity generation available from rooftop installed solar plants will be monitored and prospective buyers and sellers will have their bids cleared through a market-based process. This comprehensive mechanism will help provide the true value of solar power and foster community trading, thus resulting in scaling up adoption of rooftop solar power.

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