Buying locally is trending across the world, so what if there was a way to to buy solar energy…from your neighbors!? A New York startup company called LO3 Energy is working on a way to do just that.
Its project Brooklyn Microgrid aims to use smart meters an app to allow users to buy energy from their clean energy producing neighbors. Director Scott Kessler, director of business development at LO3 Energy said, “Brooklyn Microgrid is the idea that we can now allow peer-to-peer transactions of energy and energy attributes across the grid. So, if you’re producing via solar panels, via wind, whatever energy-generation resource you might have, you can now actually transact with your neighbor.”
The project is still in its pilot phase, Kessler says the team is working to define how electricity can be legally traded through the microgrid in the future. The microgrid app explains how consumers set the price they’re willing to pay for the different energy types, while also letting users suggest sites for new solar panels.
“So, not only can you start to buy and sell energy, all of a sudden I can actually sell the ability to turn on or off my devices,” Kessler says. For example, when everyone else is using AC in the summer, you could be paid to turn on your water heater. “And you start to get this idea of grid control through people’s transactions.” The grid, he explains, “just wants to be balanced at the end of the day.”
The plan is to expand the technology to be used in other communities and around the world. “We actually just announced a partnership with Siemens where we’re looking at incorporating our technology with existing grid infrastructure, like their transformers and their substations, and also looking at physical microgrids where this has some really interesting applications, as well,” Kessler says.
Who knows, maybe one day we wont need the grid at all with communities working together to provide power to one another!