Blockchain comes to Perth and residents trade solar in new energy paradigm
Cameron Jewell | 2 August 2018
Residents of the Evermore apartment complex in Perth’s White Gum Valley will be able to directly trade solar energy with each other, in what is one of the first examples of peer-to-peer energy trading in the residential space.
Using blockchain technology developed by local outfit Power Ledger, residents will be able to trade solar energy generated by the development’s 53.6-kilowatt solar system and stored in a 150kW battery.
Once common strata areas are covered, Yolk Property Group director Tao Bourtonsaid each apartment would receive a stake in the solar energy stored in the battery.
The blockchain technology will allow residents with unused energy to sell to neighbours that require more than their allocation at a cheaper price than would be supplied from the grid.
Mr Bourtontold The Fifth Estate some residents, for example young professionals, may not be home much and therefore have excess energy to on-sell, whereas a family with young kids might need more.
All up, the system is expected to cover 80 per cent of the apartment complex’s needs and reduce energy bills by 30 per cent. However, Mr Bourton said there would be fluctuations, with summer, for example, producing much more energy.
Power Ledger co-founder and managing director David Martin said the project was the future of energy delivery.
“Through developments like Evermore we are completely changing the way we use energy, delivering a modern, decentralised and low-cost carbon structure that residents can take advantage of,” Mr Martin said.
“By using Power Ledger’s energy trading platform, projects like this are paving the way forward for broader consumer access to cheaper energy, as we transition into a new consumer-driven energy demand paradigm.”
Yolk is also instigating an education program for residents so they can get the most out of the system, for example by highlighting the importance of running appliances like washing machines and dishwashers during the day while cheap solar energy is available. This will be supplemented by real-time power and water consumption data provided to residents.
The 24-apartment project is a One Planet Living community, meaning it has to outperform on sustainability and develop an action plan towards the 10 One Planet principles, including becoming zero carbon and sending zero waste to landfill.
Apart from the solar and battery system, other sustainability initiatives include passive design and cross-ventilation that have led to no mechanical airconditioning, an electric vehicle charging point, communal bicycles and a bicycle repair station, a three-bin system to divert 60 per cent of waste from landfill, and ascommunalgarden and compost tumblers.
Mr Bourtontold The Fifth Estate while sustainable apartments were still a niche market, the company liked “pushing the boundaries”.
As a syndicated property development company, Yolk has been able to attract sustainability oriented investors who want to invest in something that makes a difference, he said.
Evermore is part of a Curtin University-led pilot project looking at solar and battery installations in apartment developments, including LandCorp, Solar Balance, ARENA, the CRC for Low Carbon Living and CSIRO.