What’s the Purpose of Solar “Blockchains” In San Antonio?
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The solar energy industry is constantly evolving, and blockchain is adding a heap of disruptive advantages that will be favorable to residential solar producers and consumers.
What was once a push and pull between the supply and demand side of solar will likely even out in one of the Lone Star State’s most technologically progressive cities — San Antonio.
There are some major advances that are about to break on the solar industry front. These advances, though seemingly obvious and simple can, when implemented, take residential solar customers’ options and shoot them through the solar-paneled roof.
What are they? Blockchain technologies.
These advances in computing and recording information are the natural trajectory of the energy sector as a whole, where some computations, such as energy credits, are still computed by hand and entered into an Excel spreadsheet.
Peer-To-Peer Solar Panel Transactions in San Antonio
From industrial to commercial and residential, blockchain tech companies like Power Ledger are working hard to simplify peer-to-peer energy transactions.
Much like grabbing an Uber or renting an Airbnb is the act of using a third-party platform to transact rides and short-term rentals with peers, Power Ledger is working to make solar energy a commodity that one can buy from, or sell to, their neighbors. Platforms like this have the potential to quite literally decentralize power back into the hands of individuals.
But, what does this mean for San Antonio, Texas residents?
“Coupling on-site renewable energy generation with peer-to-peer trading will allow residents to maximize the value of their renewable energy investments while sharing the low-carbon benefits with their neighbors,“ says David Martin, Power Ledger’s Managing Director.
San Antonio Is Primed for Residential Solar Growth
Ranked 6th in the nation for solar energy potential, San Antonio residents, in particular, are in the middle of a monumental time for entering the solar market. Currently, San Antonio’s municipal energy company, CPS Energy, offers an immediate 40 percent reduction on solar installation expenses; this doesn’t include the 30 percent federal tax credit on top of that.
For residents, much of the benefits will come down to costs and energy savings, of course. However, it cannot be ignored that the future of blockchain technologies will begin to pile on opportunities that simply did not exist before, like instantaneous, accounting-free, peer-to-peer energy trading and transacting at fair prices for both buyer and seller.
Other Experts Say That Now Is the Time To Invest in Solar; “Learn by Doing”
We spoke with former Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Office for the Department of Energy, Mark Johnson, who is the founder of Clean Energy Blockchain Network about when will be the right time to jump into solar energy. We wanted to know if he thought there was any difference in timing and implementation for residential versus commercially focused customers.
Mark said the smartest thing for people across the entire solar spectrum to do now is to jump into solar energy and to adopt a mentality of “learning by doing.” Johnson said this method is key right now, as new developments and opportunities are constantly revealing themselves to those who take action.
From deciding to put solar panels on your own San Antonio home, to investing in large-scale solar projects, Johnson says the time for going solar is now, regardless of the impact of nationwide solar energy tariffs.
Johnson likened the blockchain aspect entering solar energy as one that will ultimately come down to cost savings and efficiency for all, although he admitted that practical large-scale applications, or official “shelf packaging” is yet to be determined.
While many investors and solar panel companies want to be presented with use-cases, when it comes to blockchain solar applications, the fact remains that this tech is still new. We haven’t even begun to explore the full capacity that these solutions have to offer.
We do know this: cryptography solutions have the flexibility to move project-to-project with customized solutions tailored to each individual set of circumstances.
We can begin to look at new explorations on the solar blockchain horizon to get a glimpse into the types of solutions we will start to see. Essentially, blockchain is becoming a major, game-changing element among other Texas solar elements, whether commercial or residential.
Solar and Blockchain, Projects and Partnerships
Mark Johnson is leading the U.S. in advancing blockchain technologies for the solar industry via a major partnership with Perth-based Power Ledger. The partnership, which was developed in Q1 of 2018, is rolling out hundreds of projects and plans within the U.S.
One of the most recent developments for the blockchain/solar partnership is a deal with one of the largest energy providers in Texas. Another is a Silicon Valley deal that will test tokenization of electric cars solar grid charging stations.
Though more details will soon be officially released on the upcoming Texas project, there are many similar yet unique solar energy and blockchain developments happening across the globe that can give us some insight into what the new development might look like when it comes to solar blockchain solutions in the pinpointed San Antonio, Texas area. Here are three examples of solar blockchain projects currently in the works:
A University Smart Grid
A smart energy grid is being implemented using the Power Ledger platform and current energy meters at the Northwestern University Evanston Campus. Starting with four buildings and then increasing implementation across the entire campus, the use-case will be monitored and managed by the school’s Master of Engineering Management Program students.
Japanese Retail Energy Trials Peer-To-Peer Solar
Power Ledger will enter a trial partnership with Japan’s Kansai Electric Power Co (KEPCO) to offer customers peer-to-peer energy trading in Japan. The project starts with 10 homes and the goal is to help residential customers better monetize their solar investment.
Distributed Renewable Energy Trading in Thailand
Thai government-backed energy company BCPG has signed a deal with Power Ledger to use blockchain technology for autonomous financial settlements to allow for peer-to-peer solar energy transacting.
These are just some of the projects that give insight into the plethora of opportunities that blockchain will open for the solar industry — especially residential producers of solar energy.
Increased Resident Benefits for Solar Energy Participation
Another ‘solar power to the people’ concept that we will begin to see more of will be collaborative efforts, whereby peers will come together to invest in solar projects that benefit the community and also pay handsome returns to the local, everyday investors that collectively own a piece of the pie. An example of this is the upcoming Asset Germination Events. These events will lower the barriers to entry for solar and solar energy investments by residents and the community.
Big Projects Will Run Blockchain First
While much of the anticipated benefits for using platforms like Power Ledger will inevitably empower residential solar energy customers, some of the first projects will be implemented on a larger scale.
We might not even know or realize that a particular apartment complex or university is utilizing a new cryptographic mechanism for delivering energy from building to building.
But these are the projects that Mark Johnson aims to promote because of their capacity and the ability to have even bigger positive impacts down the funnel.
Johnson hopes that by creating these large-scale projects, we’ll see a more humanitarian approach to energy, like supplying excess solar energy from enterprise projects to low-income housing residents.
When Is Mass Adoption Likely To Occur, and With San Antonio as Epicenter?
Johnson likened the inevitable — yet slow — pace for mass adoption of cryptographic or blockchain technologies across the energy industry as a whole to the snail pace process of load control tech adoption, which is quite literally a large on/off switch.
This is not completely without reason though. An energy product sales cycle is roughly 10-20 years because products must become highly standardized, non-proprietary, regulated, repeatable and predictable. Although that takes time, it also creates a reliable framework for which to deliver energy on a massive scale.
With that said, it will take quite some years for a U.S. energy industry-level mass adoption to occur. In the meantime, we will continue to see global projects pop up and be tested for best use.
What You Need To Know To Be the Smartest Person in the Room on Solar Energy and Blockchain
There’s no denying the impact that blockchain’s ripple effect will have on the solar industry. You will hear words like “decentralization” and “peer-to-peer” energy transactions when discussing the blockchain solar space.
These benefits are directly to empower residential customers and producers of solar energy. The aim of many of these emerging companies in the blockchain space is to help the “little guy” regain some power in the energy equation.
Solar energy experts are excited for residents to play a larger role in solar energy production by taking a “learn by doing” approach so they can begin to take advantage. The bottom line is, there is now a growing list of benefits for going solar beyond costs savings.
With the use of blockchain or cryptographic computing and the immense solar credits currently available, residents in the highly solar-ready city of San Antonio will be encouraged to play a bigger role and receive a bigger return on renewable energies.
Education and engagement are the final takeaways. While it’s great to learn about these emerging trends and begin putting investments toward residential solar energy, it’s important to have these discussions with family, neighbors, and community members.
What will a Solar San Antonio that benefits all residents look like? In the emerging market, residents will hold much more power than ever before to capitalize on these changes. Learn how you can start with a customized and free San Antonio solar quote today.