19 December, 2019

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Trading sunlight

We are proud to have contributed to the Solar Trade Association’s Trading Sunlight report, which looks at the potential role for peer to peer energy (P2P) trading and blockchain technologies in the UK solar industry.

This report provides an open-minded overview of both current and future applications of the technology, and investigates some of the possibilities they could enable.

The emergence of ‘prosumers’ i.e. proactive consumers with distributed energy resources such as domestic PV and home batteries, the development of smart consumer-level systems, and the need to adapt to the variable nature of renewable energy has given rise to a new exciting range of challenges and opportunities.

A critical challenge facing us is: how best to incentivise coordination between vast numbers of distributed energy resources, each with different owners and characteristics, for mutual benefit?

One way is to to enable smarter and more flexible business models that ensure the use of electricity in the areas it is generated. This approach can be rolled out with Peer to Peer (P2P) trading.

P2P trading is a phenomenon of the newly emerging sharing economy, which involves interactions between individuals, without a third party, to give access to goods and services.  These peer to peer interactions (rather than business to business, or business to customer) are facilitated by a trading platform which allows small suppliers to compete with traditional providers of goods and services, for example Airbnb, and Uber.

In the Trading Sunlight report, Thomas Morstyn  and Helen Gavin introduce the idea of peer to peer energy trading in the report and summarise how this can be achieved through different models.