Natural Solar, sonnen deploy blockchain in 12-home project


The number of blockchain-enabled peer-to-peer (P2P) electricity projects continues to grow, with Australian households being involved in some of the earliest trials. Solar installer Natural Solar is equipping a group of 12 households with 5kW of rooftop PV and 8kWh sonnen batteries, in a new trial in Sydney.

Natural Solar claims that the property developer, looking to build new homes in the southern Sydney suburb of Kurnell, would have incurred grid expansion costs of $250,000. By contrast, the 12 distributed solar and electrical storage systems can be installed for $228,000.

Presumably the P2P trading between the households delivers a greater level of dependence from the grid – particularly with the solar+storage systems installed in close proximity to each other.

The development itself is not low-cost, with each home valued at $1.5 million. Kurnell is itself a peninsula, which could be the cause of the high electricity network expansion cost. If that is the case, the economics of the project would likely be superior to a similar VPP installed in a more regular suburban settings.

Natural Solar indicates that the homeowners will sign up to the sonnenFlat scheme- which guarantees $0 power bills for 20 years. The first sonnenFlat customer in Australia was signed up late last year.

“Blockchain technology is now being explored around the world when it comes to home energy storage, and this is a trend we are seeing in property developments where this can be added into the infrastructure from the beginning,” said Natural Solar CEO in a statement. “These are the first homes in Australia that connects blockchain technology coupled with battery power to produce a truly unique energy solution.”

Natural Solar claims that the homeowners will save “at least $620,000” in power bills over 20 years.

The VPP will have the ability to provide backup power. Kurnell itself was struck by a destructive tornado in 2015.

Perth-based Power Ledger is emerging as somewhat of a global leader in deploying blockchain in renewable applications. The company is collaborating on projects in a number of parts of the world, including Japan and California. In Australia, Power Ledger is deploying its blockchain enabled platform in projects located in Fremantle and Melbourne.

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