AGL to expand peer-to-peer solar trial

The Adelaide Advertiser reported on Sunday that vertically integrated retailer AGL will expand its peer-to-peer solar home program. The scheme allows households to virtually share the electricity generated by their rooftop solar using the company’s energy app. The Advertiser reported that AGL is still fine-turning the app which allows for the electricity sharing.

AGL first launched the two-month trial in May. It is a joint initiative of AGL, IBM Australia and Marchment Hill Consulting. The scheme was supported by ARENA and developed in its A-Lab grid edge innovation hub.

The program is aimed to allow households with rooftop solar to share their excess electricity with members of their family or community, or even gift the electrons virtually to charities.

In its reporting, the Advertiser spoke to trial participant Christine Odgers who says that she was only able to consume in her home less than half of the power her 3 kW rooftop PV system produced each day. Under the peer-to-peer trial, she was able to share the remainder with family members.

AGL’s Elisabeth Brinton said that the trial will be expanded “in the coming months.” She added that the initial peer-to-peer included a young family who could not afford the rooftop PV investment, while another had a roof that was not suitable for solar.

“As more of our customers install solar and batteries, they are playing an increasingly important role in the electricity system, and we are finding new ways to enable them to actively participate in that system and engage with each other and their community,” Brinton said.

This type of peer-to-peer trading or sharing of electricity is being pushed by intelligent battery suppliers such as Germany’s sonnen and Senec. The sonnenCommunity and SenecCloud concepts allow for various levels of virtual sharing of electricity amongst network members.

Perth-based Power Ledger is also progressing its efforts to facilitate the sharing of electricity using blockchain technology.

European utilities Innogy, Eon and Enel are all progressing their efforts to deploy blockchain for electricity trading. Last month, Germany’s Eon and Italy’s Enel launched their  “Enerchain” initiative, which looks to create a European-wide blockchain enabled trading platform.